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September 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

VOL. XXXVIISEPTEMBER 1NO. 17

A. D. 1916--A.M. 6044


CONTENTS

Keeping the Lord's Commandments259
Christians have Three Commandments259
The Source of Our Severest Trials260
"Take Heed to Yourselves"261
Sent Into Outer Darkness262
The Harvest is Not Ended263
Gentile Times Evidently Ended264
Jewish and Christian Parallels264
The Burning of the Tares265
Greater Sufferings--Greater Reward265
Fellowship in Christ's Sufferings265
Secret of His faithfulness265
A Plot That failed266
St. Paul Before Felix268
A Doctrine Lost Sight Of268
The Coming Judgment Day269
I.B.S.A. Conscripts in Great Britain269
Interesting Letters270
When Divorced People Are free to Marry271
Changed Attitude Toward Spiritism271

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION

THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (I Pet. 1:19; I Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (I Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
 
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.




NASHVILLE GENERAL CONVENTION
AUGUST 24-27

CORDIAL INVITATION

Governor Tom C. Rye, of Tennessee; Mayor Robert Ewing, of Nashville; Chairman Robert L. Burch, of Nashville Industrial Bureau; and President R.B. Brannon, of the Commercial Club of Nashville, have each and all extended a cordial invitation to the I.B.S.A. to hold its Convention in their City, promising a hearty and generous welcome.

FAVORABLE RAILROAD RATES

Thirty-five Railroads in the South have joined in making us an attractive rate of about 1-½c a mile to induce the largest possible number to attend this Convention. In every case, ask your Ticket Agent for the rate covered by Joint-Passenger Tariff No. Exc. 6747.

GOOD LOCATIONS

The Capitol Building, in which all of the sessions of the Convention will be held, is said to be located on the highest and coolest spot in the City. The Ryman Auditorium is the best in Nashville, and has been offered free by the City to the Association for the showing of the greatest Biblical production, THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, and has been accepted for that purpose. The Princess Theater, which the City has provided for Brother Russell's public lecture, is the best.

AN ATTRACTIVE PROGRAM

FELLOWSHIP DAY: Thursday, August 24th--Brother P.S. L. Johnson, who will be the Chairman of the Convention, will give the opening address on "Christian Fellowship." In the afternoon short addresses on One Body, One Spirit, One Hope, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism and One God will be given by Brothers Riemer, Thorn, Jones, Toole, Stevens, Thornton and Wise.

TRANSFORMATION DAY: Friday, August 25--Pilgrim Brother Thornton will speak on "When He Shall Appear," and Pilgrim Brother Daniel Toole on "We Shall be Like Him." "The Quickening of the Spirit" and its bearing upon the Volumteer, Drama, Colporteur and Pastoral Work will be considered by Brothers Riemer, Jones, Thorn, Johnson.

RANSOM DAY: Saturday, August 26--After a discourse by Brother Palmer on "The Sufferings of Christ," there will be held at 11 o'clock in the morning a Question Meeting on the great, fundamental subject of THE RANSOM, conducted by Brother Russell, who in the afternoon will hold a Consecration Service, consisting of the Consecration of Children, Sermon on Baptism and Symbolic Immersion in Water.

KNOWLEDGE DAY: Sunday, August 27th--Pilgrim Brother M.E. Riemer will conduct the Berean Lesson for the day, and at 11 o'clock, Brother Russell will give a discourse on, "What, Know ye not,...ye are Bought with a Price?" (1 Cor. 6:19, 20.) In the afternoon he will speak in the Princess Theater to the public on "The World on Fire," and in the evening at 7 o'clock, in the Capitol Building, he will conduct the closing feature of the Convention--The Love Feast.

We are hoping for a good attendance at this Convention and believe that those attending will be richly blessed.


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"THIS ONE THING" THE SOCIETY DOES

Brethren write us from time to time respecting inventions, patents, mining claims, etc., desiring that THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY should join with them in the development of these--kindly offering the principal portion of all the profits.

We greatly appreciate these kind offers, the generous hearts behind them, and the love for the Truth and its service thus manifested. But we are obliged to refuse all such offers, because the Society engages in no kind of business for profit. It confines its business transactions to financiering the Pilgrim Work, publishing the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, etc., and supplying them at cost or below cost; publishing THE WATCH TOWER, publishing the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, etc., and in the presentation, and formerly in the showing, of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION.

The Society engages in no kind of mining or patent business or speculations. The money under its control comes from the Lord's consecrated people, and often represents hard-earned funds and self-sacrificing economy; it is used strictly and only for the forwarding of the Truth according to the best judgment of the executive officers.

This does not mean any unwillingness to counsel with any of the brethren in respect to their earthly affairs and interests. We are glad to give such advice as we may be able to give on every matter, temporal or spiritual, involving the interests of the Lord's consecrated saints.



[R5946 : page 259]

KEEPING THE LORD'S COMMANDMENTS

THE Law given to Israel at Mount Sinai and summarized in the Ten Commandments was not given to any other nation or people. It is upon the Jew still, and is a bondage only because it was made a part of God's contract with that nation. If they would keep that Law perfectly they were to have certain special and exclusive blessings. If they failed to keep it, certain penalties were to result. But since that Law was the measure of a perfect man's ability, and since no Israelite, any more than others of the world of mankind, was perfect, therefore none of them could keep that Divine Law. None of them could get the blessings which it promised. All of them did get more or less of the curse, or punishment, which failure to keep the Law threatened. Thus Jesus said, "None of you keepeth the Law" (John 7:19); and St. Paul wrote, "By the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in His sight."--Romans 3:20.

Nevertheless, the endeavor to keep that Law proved a great blessing to the people of Israel, and some of those Ancient Worthies who strove so faithfully and loyally, the Apostle assures us, will yet get a rich reward therefor. (Hebrews 11:38-40.) Messiah, after setting up His spiritual Kingdom, will constitute these Ancient Worthies princes and rulers in all the earth--under and subject to Himself and His Elect Church on the spirit plane.

Jesus, although a member of our race according to the flesh, had an unimpaired life, transferred from the spirit plane to His virgin mother's womb. Thus He did not inherit either sin or its condemnation, but was born "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." (Hebrews 7:26.) Because of this perfection Jesus was able to do what no other member of the human family ever did or could do. He was able to keep the Law fully and completely in its every detail. And He did more than keep the Law. He sacrificed earthly rights and privileges which the Law declared He had a right to. Thus Jesus has a merit--a right to earthly life aside from the life which He now has on the spirit plane, and which was a reward from the Father for His obedience unto death, "even the death of the Cross."--Philippians 2:8.

It is that earthly life which forms the basis for the New Covenant arrangement that God has promised to establish through the glorified Messiah. In due time He will appropriate the merit of His sacrifice--His right to human life--as the full satisfaction for Father Adam's disobedience and his death penalty. Thus purchasing the [R5947 : page 259] race, by giving a corresponding price, the great Redeemer will take over His purchased possession--man and his earthly home--and for a thousand years will exercise His privilege of assisting all the members of Adam's family who are willing to rise up out of sin, imperfection and death-conditions to human perfection and everlasting life. Those blessings could not come under the Law Covenant, because mankind could not keep the Law Covenant; but they will come to the willing and obedient under the gracious terms of the New Covenant, which promises mercy and forgiveness, and the taking away of the stony heart and the giving instead the heart of flesh and the renewing of a right spirit in all of those who will be rightly exercised by the corrections and glorious privileges of Messiah's Kingdom.

CHRISTIANS HAVE THREE COMMANDMENTS

Christians--disciples or followers of Jesus--from amongst the Gentiles never were under the Mosaic Law given at Mount Sinai. They are received into God's family as sons under a different Covenant--the one which reads: "Gather My saints together unto Me," saith the Lord, "those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psalm 50:5.) Jesus, after keeping fully all the conditions and requirements of the Law Covenant, under which He was born, was permitted to respond to this Covenant of Sacrifice. He was first, the Chief, the Head of the Household of Saints who entered into this Covenant of Sacrifice with God--agreeing to sacrifice His earthly life and all its rights in the doing of the Father's will even unto death. It was His faithfulness in this that gained for Him the better resurrection to glory, honor and immortality--the Divine nature.

During this Gospel Age, some saintly ones have responded to the Lord's invitation to walk in Jesus' steps. Through the merit of His sacrifice, Jesus was privileged to be the Advocate with the Father on behalf of all this company called to be His Bride class and joint-heirs. He has imputed His merit to their sacrifice, thus making it complete and acceptable in the Father's sight. Each one of the followers of Jesus, energized by His spirit of devotion, not only makes the covenant, but fulfils it, with the assistance of his glorious Redeemer. Thus eventually they will come off through Him "more than conquerors," and be joint-heirs in the Kingdom.

To these the Apostle writes, "Ye are not under the Law, but under grace." These are not under the Law Covenant, requiring of them absolute and perfect obedience to every item of the Jewish Law. They are under grace, or Divine favor, which does not require the fulfilment of the whole of the Law by them--a requirement which they could not fulfil. Instead, as the Apostle tells us, "the righteousness of the Law [its real requirement, [R5947 : page 260] the spirit of its requirement] is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit." (Romans 8:4.) Thus, although not under the Law Covenant, the will of God, which was the spirit of the Jewish Law, is binding upon every Christian in proportion to his knowledge of it.

THE CHRISTIAN'S FIRST AND SECOND COMMANDS

Speaking of the spirit of the Law, applicable to angels, to the world of mankind and to Christians, Jesus declared it to be briefly comprehended in two commandments. The first of these is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, being and strength." The second is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Every Christian and every angel recognizes that Law and feels a responsibility to it to the extent of his ability; but neither angels nor Christians are under the Law Covenant--that covenant was made only with the nation of Israel.

Every follower of Jesus should realize that if he has enlisted under the banner of Divine righteousness and truth he has pledged his very life in this service as a soldier of the Cross. How then could he do less than his very best in loving and serving his Heavenly Father with all his mind, being and strength? How could he decline the Divine requirement to love his neighbor as himself-- to be kind, generous, not selfish? True, the New Creature may find difficulty in devoting all of his mind and strength to the Lord and in dealing in perfect fairness with all his fellow-creatures. But this is the New Creature's desire and intention, and to accomplish which he must strive daily, and war a good warfare against the natural inherited weaknesses of his old nature--his flesh. In proportion to his love for the Lord will be his zeal in this warfare; and proportionate also will be the reward that will be given him in the end by the Heavenly Father.

But what an unseen warfare is being waged amongst the followers of the Lord wherever they are! The world sees not and knows not of this conflict; but it is very real, and the Lord takes note of the loyalty and faithfulness of these convenantors--these who have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice--consecrating their little all of time, talent, influence, prospects. Having consecrated, they are to maintain this attitude of consecration daily, hourly--presenting their bodies "living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, and their reasonable service."--Rom. 12:1.

If weak or fallen according to the flesh, these are to remember that they are no longer fleshly or human beings, and that the weaknesses are not theirs; for they are now New Creatures in Christ Jesus, to whom old things have passed away and all things have become new. They have new ambitions, new ideals, and new relationship with God. They do not love sin, but love righteousness. They hate sin. They have enlisted to death to war a warfare against sin, especially in their own flesh. They have the satisfaction of knowing that while fellowmen might not see their battlings, might not know of the courageous effort they put forth in opposition to sin, yet the Lord looketh not at the outward man, but at the heart, and His judgment is not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit--the mind, the intention, the endeavor. Thus there are some great, valiant soldiers of the Cross, whom the world knows not; but all of these will eventually be crowned and have a share with Jesus in His Kingdom.

THE CHRISTIAN'S THIRD COMMANDMENT

At first it would appear that these two commandments itemized by Jesus would include everything that could be required by justice; and so they do. Justice requires nothing more than what these two commands include. Why then did Jesus give another command--a third one-- a new one, over and above anything that the Divine Law required? We reply that this third commandment is not applicable to any except those who become the disciples of Jesus. This third commandment the Father did not put upon Jesus; He voluntarily put this regulation upon Himself, and laid down His life sacrificially--a thing which no law could justly demand. The Father did not require that Jesus should do this in the sense of commanding Him to do it; but He did require it in the sense that He promised glory, honor, immortality, the Divine nature and the Messianic Kingdom to the saintly One who would enter the Covenant of Sacrifice.

Jesus, therefore, in entering this Covenant of Sacrifice, did more than what the Law given to Israel required. Therefore, when pointing out to His disciples the conditions upon which He would be their Advocate, and the conditions upon which He would guarantee to them a share with Himself in the Heavenly things, He specified the importance of this third commandment. "A new commandment I give unto you--that ye love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12.) St. Paul points out that Christ loved us to the extent of dying for us, and that all of the true followers of Jesus, possessed of His Spirit, should likewise count it a joy to be permitted to lay down their lives in the service of the brethren. "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren."

Gradually the eyes of our understanding have been opening wider and wider to see the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God; and as a result we have been striving more and more to love and to serve our God with all our heart, mind, being, strength. More and more, also, we have learned to appreciate the necessity for dealing justly and kindly with the members of our families, with our neighbors, with all mankind-- loving our neighbors as ourselves. We may have congratulated ourselves on the progress we have been making, and surely we all need some encouragements while battling with the old nature!

THE SOURCE OF OUR SEVEREST TRIALS

But now, behold the New Commandment, requiring a still greater devotion to the will of our Father and to the leadership of our Savior! The rule of righteousness is to be observed toward our Heavenly Father and toward all our neighbors; but toward the brethren of the Household of Faith we are to do more than the right--we are to suffer, we are to sacrifice on their behalf, in their interests. "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." Oh, what a searching proposition this Covenant of Sacrifice is! How strange that it should be on behalf of the brethren that we should be expected to sacrifice, to lay down our lives!

At first some one might say, "To sacrifice will be a very easy matter when it is done in the interests of the brethren, more so than if done for the world." However, experience shows that many of God's dear people, striving to keep the first two commandments, find it more easy to sacrifice time, influence and strength in the service of the world than in the service of the brethren. Somehow we are inclined to expect more from the brethren than from others, and inclined to make less allowance for weaknesses in the brethren than in others. There seems to be no condition in which God's people are more tried as respects their spiritual graces than by one another, with [R5948 : page 260] one another. It is not merely theory; it proves itself out.

All over the world there are Class troubles. Truly we read, "the Lord will judge His people," and again, "the Lord your God proveth you"! Testings and siftings are coming on and many of the dear saints of the Lord who [R5948 : page 261] have made a Covenant of Sacrifice with Him do not seem to realize that these Class troubles amongst the brethren are means which the Lord permits to test and to demonstrate the characters of His people--their love for Him, His Word, His will, their justice to all men, doing unto others as they would that they should do to them, and, finally, their spirit of self-sacrifice in respect to what they will do for or bear from the brethren in laying down their lives for them.

EXHORTATIONS TO BROTHERLY LOVE

We fear greatly that some of the Lord's saints, failing to appreciate the situation, are failing to be overcomers in these matters; and that their place in the Royal Priesthood may thus be endangered. We are not rebuking any; we are not finding fault with any. But we encourage all to remember the Covenant of Sacrifice into which we have entered as represented in the Third Commandment-- that we love one another as the Master loved us--even to the extent of dying for us.

If this matter could be rightly appreciated, if more loving sympathy could be felt one for the other, we would not be inclined to impute evil motives to each other's words and conduct. Rather we would be glad to assume that they were sincere, whether we could agree fully with all their doings and proposals or not. And being full of love for the brethren, our refusal to join with them in what we consider unwise or unscriptural arrangements would be presented in such kind and considerate, sympathetic and gentle terms as would be helpful to them.

Therefore, let us each strive to judge himself, and not to condemn one another. Let us each scrutinize our motives in respect to every action, every word of life, and especially in all of our dealings with the brethren. Let us each assume that the others of the class are as loving and as loyal to the Lord as ourself. Let us each remember that it is a privilege to sacrifice our own preferences and conveniences in favor of the preferences and conveniences of others of the brethren, wherever positive principles would not thereby be infringed; and we may even sacrifice positive principles of justice as respects our own interests, if thereby the peace, fellowship and prosperity of the brethren will be conserved.

And even if, despite our every endeavor to the contrary, it should finally seem necessary for a class to divide, nevertheless love for the brethren ought to be the blessed tie that binds, no matter how much the conveniences of the class or other reasons might make it necessary for us to subdivide. "Love as brethren" ought to love. "Be kind, considerate, gentle, one toward another, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."--Ephesians 4:32.

"HEREBY WE MAY KNOW"

It seems remarkable that the Apostle, in pointing out one of the surest signs by which the Lord's people may know positively that they have been begotten of the Holy Spirit, says: "Hereby we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." (1 John 3:14.) How strange that love of the brethren should be the crucial test, as we have already pointed out in the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES--and as we may seriously fear will be more and more manifest as we come down toward the consummation of our hope!

As the Apostle has said, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18.) This is a personal matter. Each one of us is under this testing. If not yet, sooner or later, undoubtedly, this willingness to sacrifice in the interests of the brethren will prove each one of us either loyal, faithful to our covenant, or contrariwise--unfaithful. Let us make this matter of love for the brethren and laying down of our lives for the brethren a matter of personal study and of practical application to our own hearts, minds, thoughts, words, actions. And let us pray for one another, as well as exhort one another along these lines, striving to be filled with our Master's Spirit.



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"TAKE HEED TO YOURSELVES"
"Remember Lot's Wife."--Luke 17:32

IN CONNECTION with our dear Master's prophetic warnings respecting the trials and testings of the present day, He uttered the words of our text. The significance of these words should be comprehended by all who are walking in the light of "Present Truth." The lesson is that those who, under the special guidance of the Lord, are now fleeing for safety to the Mountain of the Lord's Kingdom, will be held to a much stricter account than are others. Lot's wife was not accused of having shared in the evil practices of the people of Sodom, but she had been instructed by the angel of the Lord to leave Sodom at once, as it was doomed.

Her fault was that of looking back to that which she had been commanded to leave, and which she had left. She was told to flee from the condemned city, and not to look back as she fled, but to hasten on to the mountain of safety. We may reasonably suppose that her turning and looking back toward Sodom implied a heart not fully in harmony with her deliverance, but in some degree sympathetic with what she was leaving. She at heart clung to the accursed things condemned to destruction and was loath to give them up. Therefore the Lord brought her no further. She became a monument of the folly of sympathizing with evil, and with evil-doers, after God has given them up.

We believe there are some now who need to have their attention called to the antitype of this typical incident referred to by our Lord. Quite a number are disposed to sympathize and fraternize with those who have come under Divine condemnation. We are told by St. Jude that the destruction of Sodom was "set forth as an example," or type. Those who assume to be more gracious and long-suffering than the Lord, make of themselves opponents, who instead of being students of the principles of righteousness, attempt to be judges and teachers of Jehovah. The proper attitude of heart accepts God's decision as not only wiser but more just than our own. Consequently, when we see any who have enjoyed the light of Present Truth abandoned by the Lord and led into outer darkness, we are to conclude that before being thus abandoned there must have been in them "an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." "He is faithful who hath promised" that "if any man will do His [the Father's] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." (John 7:17.) Whoever, therefore, loses the doctrines of Christ after once having had them, has surely done more than get his head confused. His heart must have been separated from the Lord previously; for so long as we abide in Him, it will not be possible for any of the snares of this "evil day," this "hour of temptation," to entrap us; none shall pluck us out of the Father's hand; He is fully able to take care of us. [R5948 : page 262]

FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

At the very foundation of all Christian doctrine lies the doctrine of the Ransom, the Scriptural teaching that "we are bought with a price," a corresponding price for Adam's sin. Any teaching, therefore, which either openly denies or quietly ignores this foundation doctrine, "the Ransom for all, to be testified in due time," must be a doctrine at variance with God's Revelation. Whether it be old or new, whether it be advocated by friends or by foes, by the learned or by the unlearned, in the name of Evolution or in some other name, our attitude toward it should be prompt and decided opposition. If others waver, we who have learned that the Ransom is the test by which all doctrines are to be proved, need not waver, and should not.

If our friends get into the quicksands of no-Ransom errors, whose name is now legion, and the numbers entrapped growing continually, we should lend them a helping hand wherever possible, "pulling them out of the fire," by reminding them of the Rock Christ Jesus, whereon our feet are firmly established, and by throwing to them the rope of Divine promises, throughout which is woven the scarlet thread of the Ransom of Christ, and exhort them to come back to the Rock and not to attempt to find another rock at the bottom of the quicksands. And we must use great plainness of speech in showing them their danger and in pointing out the way of escape.

But we must not accept their invitation to join with them in exploring what men can say or write which would tend to make the Word of God of none effect, which would claim that God has all along been the sinner and man the dupe; or that the hope of mankind is in their own evolution, and not in the Ransom and Restitution of the Scriptures; or that there is no sin and no death, really, and that man therefore needs no Redeemer, but can be his own savior. If after kind and faithful remonstrance on your part they still persist in exploring and delving into and feeding upon such evident contradictions of God's Word, let them go. Remember that there must be something wrong at their hearts, if they have ever been God's children [R5949 : page 262] at all, else they would have no pleasure in the unfruitful works of darkness, but would reprove them, and their delight would be in God's great Plan of the Ages.

SENT INTO OUTER DARKNESS

Let us remember, too, that God has promised to keep and guide the minds of those whose hearts are loyal and true to Him. We should therefore conclude that if the Lord is thrusting any one out of the light as unworthy of it, into the outer darkness of the world, if He is permitting unfaithful ones to be seduced by the great enemy, it is not our mission to follow them into the outer darkness by reading, conversation, etc. We are to remain with the Lord and those who are walking in the light, and to seek others to take the places and crowns of those who now deny or ignore the precious blood of the Covenant wherewith they were once sanctified.

Neither are we to waste sympathy upon those who depart. If we can neither persuade them nor pull them out of the fire, we must let them go, and should turn at once and render aid to others more worthy. When the Lord has put any out of the light (Matthew 22:13, 14), we cannot hope to bring them back. Had it been proper for them to remain in the light, if they had been worthy of it, He would not have permitted them to be put out of it.

NO FELLOWSHIP WITH "UNFRUITFUL WORKS"

We do not here refer to slight differences of understanding, which should be patiently dealt with and explained or overlooked, as all children in the School of Christ have not attained to the same "step," or degree of knowledge; but we do refer to those radical differences, all of which may be quickly proved by the test of the Ransom doctrine. If they agree not with this, "it is because there is no light in them." And such are no longer to be to us brothers or sisters in Christ, but should be considered and treated as of the world--"as a heathen man or a publican." These are not to be numbered among our friends; for the friendship of such is enmity against God. We are not to receive or entertain such at our houses, nor bid them or their work God-speed in any manner. (2 John 8-11.) Some who have neglected the plain statement of God's Word on this subject have suffered spiritually for their disobedience.

Let us more and more be of one mind with the Lord. His friends must be our friends; His enemies our enemies. If we affiliate with the Lord's enemies, we shall at least get into a luke-warm condition towards Him and His friends; and the luke-warm, God declares He will spew out of His mouth. We should cultivate warmth of heart toward all who trust in the precious blood and are consecrated to our Redeemer as their Lord and Head. There must be no lukewarmness there. Whatever their peculiarities according to the flesh, we cannot be other than brethren to them in spirit, with all the helpfulness and sympathy which brotherhood in Christ implies. But we must not, cannot, have any fellowship with the ungodly, the sinners against light and Truth, and scorners of the grace of God. And although if they were destitute we would feed them, yet so long as they are the opponents and adversaries of the Lord's Cause and His Truth, they are our adversaries and we theirs. The Lord loves positiveness with harmlessness, and of us it should be true as it is prophetically written of our Lord and the true members of His Body in Psalm 139:19-24.

This injunction of our Lord, to "remember Lot's wife," also applies particularly to the Lord's people who have heard His call of the present time to "come out" of Babylon, and have left this condemned "city." Whoever, therefore, is being led of the Lord's angels (messengers) to a place of safety ere the foretold destruction overtakes the present Order, as were Lot and his family before the destruction of Sodom, let him not look back or otherwise manifest sympathy with that which is condemned of the Lord to overthrow and destruction.

HEART LOYALTY AND OUTWARD LOYALTY IN NEXT AGE

In the next Age, when the world shall have been brought to a knowledge of the Truth, the opportunity will be granted them to show forth what is the real attitude of their hearts toward God. Some after coming to see the goodness and loving-kindness of the Lord, will still prefer sin; and God's sentence upon them will again be the sentence of death--Second Death. A certain period will be granted them to learn of the great goodness of the Lord and of their opportunity of gaining eternal life. If they do not then manifest an interest in their own salvation and an appreciation of God's goodness in Christ, and a desire to be helped up out of sin and degradation, they will receive the final wages of sin, utter and eternal destruction in the Second Death.

There will apparently be some in that time who will seem to desire assistance up to a better life, a righteous life, who will yield obedience in perhaps only an outward way to the laws of the Kingdom. These, we understand, will be permitted to live on and be gradually brought up to a condition of physical and mental perfection; they may live through to the full end of the thousand years of Christ's Reign. At the end of that time they, with all others then living, will be turned over by Christ to the [R5949 : page 263] Father for a final crucial testing. If these then prove that their wills have not been wholly given up to God, that they do not yet appreciate the costly provision made for their salvation, and the value of righteousness, they will be destroyed as unworthy of Divine approval and unworthy of everlasting life. If the demonstration which will then have been given them of the Wisdom, the Justice and the Love of God will not have changed their hearts to entire devotion to Him and to His glorious and righteous will, any further opportunity would be utterly useless. They will be cut off from earth as cumberers of the ground, that only the righteous, the holy, may live throughout the ages of eternity.

Of the world God will require a full consecration to do His will. It must include their entire selves, their wills, their bodies--their whole-hearted allegiance. It will not be a consecration unto sacrifice, unto death, as is now the case with the Church; but they must become wholly devoted to God and must realize and recognize that they belong to God, that they have been bought, purchased back from death, and may, if obedient, live forever. We all see how reasonable is this requirement. Adam, who was created in God's likeness, should have said, "I belong to God. He gave me my life and all I have." But he had not fully learned to trust the Wisdom and Love of his Maker. He had a perfect brain, a perfect organism; but he lacked full knowledge of the character of the Lord and of the justice of all His requirements. His incomplete knowledge, therefore, rendered him to some extent excusable in God's sight. If he had taken the stand of opposition to the Lord with clear knowledge and experience, apparently he would not have been accounted worthy of redemption. The whole world will, then, when they reach perfection, realize that they owe everything to God, and, if loyal at heart, will wish to render all to Him in glad service--to the praise of His name.

While it would have been eminently proper for the world, as with Adam, to render perfect obedience to God, even if man had never sinned and been redeemed, the fact that they have sinned, and yet have been redeemed through God's abounding love and mercy, and will be given another opportunity, a full individual opportunity, to gain life eternal, furnishes a double reason why they should devote themselves fully to God and His service forevermore. Those who are bought with blood--the precious blood of the Son of God, through whom they were created--who were redeemed by such a Sacrifice, should rejoice to bind themselves to all eternity to the God who so loved them, and should count it their most precious privilege to render homage and worship and praise forever to such a Creator and such a Redeemer.

"NOT MY OWN, BUT SAVED BY JESUS"

The Church of Christ realize, as none others can, the mighty significance of the words, "Ye are bought with a price, and ye are not your own." Our decision has been made that we will indeed be the glad bond-servants of Him who thus loved and bought us. We have no rights left. Our all is on the altar of sacrifice with our Lord; and God has ratified our decision. We are now under the most binding of obligations. Unless our lives are laid down in harmony with our contract we can never have eternal life on any plane.

Of these who have assumed this obligation there are two classes. There is one class who will do all they have covenanted to do. These will "receive the full reward." (2 John 8.) Then there is the other class who, having made the same covenant, fail to fulfil their contract. But just as the endorser of a note is responsible, so the Lord Jesus will see to it that these finish the sacrifice which they have covenanted to make. Their lives must be yielded up. If they rebel against the enforced destruction of their flesh, they will be sinning wilfully, and will die the Second Death, from which there will be no recovery.

All the Covenantors have agreed to glorify God in their bodies, to lay them down faithfully in His service. Anything less could not be acceptable; and we should not think of rendering anything less. Let us, then, proceed with the work of sacrificing these earthly bodies, which are the Lord's--not that we should use them up in a suicidal way, without regard to the strain upon the flesh, but in a reasonable, sane manner let us daily, hourly, glorify God in our bodies, continuing our sacrifice even unto the end, whether that end be a few weeks off or a few months or a few years.



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THE HARVEST IS NOT ENDED

SOME of us were quite strongly convinced that the Harvest would be ended by now, but our expectations must not be allowed to weigh anything as against the facts. The fact is that the Harvest Work is going grandly on; it is not ended by any means. As far as our present judgment goes, it would appear that there is a considerable Harvest Work yet to be done. This is not discouraging, but encouraging to us. We are glad to know of the grace of God reaching other heads and hearts and blessing them as ours have been blessed. We are glad to know that others are daily coming into blessed relationship with the Lord under the Covenant of Sacrifice, and are giving evidence of having been begotten of the Holy Spirit. We are glad to note their zeal, and rejoice with them that they, as well as we, can share in this glorious opportunity of making our calling and election sure by the character development which we are daily learning to appreciate as the prime essential of the "more than conquerors." All those must be copies of God's dear Son, our Lord Jesus. We would have been glad to have entered upon our work beyond the veil; but we are better pleased to continue our labors on this side the veil, because such is the Lord's will for us.

At first we were inclined to surmise that the Harvest proper had closed in October, 1914, and that the work since going on was a gleaning work; but the facts seem not to bear this out. The progress of the work and the numbers who are being brought to a knowledge of the Truth and separated to the Lord are far too great to be styled a gleaning. Evidently it is a part of the regular Harvest. Besides, we are being more and more impressed with the closing features of the Elijah and the Elisha type. More and more we are impressed that Elijah's smiting of the river Jordan, the waters thereof being thus divided, pictures a mighty work yet to be accomplished, and apparently in the very near future. What will be the antitype of the folding up of Elijah's mantle, symbolizing his power? and how long it may require to thus concentrate the forces for the smiting? we do not know. We must wait, watch, and do our parts. Then how long it will require to accomplish the smiting of the waters is also an uncertainty; and how quickly the people will be divided by the Truth is also an uncertainty.

But admitting that even so great a work could be accomplished under the Lord's blessing and direction in a very short time, we could still not expect the results in less than about three years. We are not fixing the time, however, for we know of no time features applicable before [R5950 : page 264] us--even as Elijah and Elisha were not sent to any definite place after reaching Jordan. We are merely giving our surmise--that a great work is before us, and that we cannot see how it could be accomplished in much less than three years.

It will be after the smiting of Jordan--after the division of the people by the Message of the Truth and the mantle of Elijah's power--that the separation of the Church into two classes will take place. Thereafter, the Elijah class, the Little Flock Class, will be clearly manifested, separate and distinct from the Great Company Class. The division, be it remembered, will be caused by the fiery chariot--some very severe, trying ordeal, which the Elect Class will promptly accept and enter into; the Elisha Class holding back from the persecution, but not drawing back to sin or to a repudiation of the Lord. It will be but a little later on that the whirlwind (probably anarchy) will bring about the "change" of the Elijah Class.

GENTILE TIMES EVIDENTLY ENDED

It still seems clear to us that the prophetic period known as the Times of the Gentiles ended chronologically in October, 1914. The fact that the Great Day of Wrath upon the nations began there marks a good fulfilment of our expectations. The Gentile nations were guaranteed a certain amount of possession and control for a certain period of time. That time having expired, dispossession proceedings are now in process. The winds of strife, winds of war, are let loose with great damage to the whole world, weakening the kingdoms of Europe in respect to their best blood and their financial strength.

How long the war may yet last, who could say? All the belligerent nations are proud and self-confident. The humbling, which the Bible mentions, has not yet been accomplished. It is possible that the war may continue for quite a while yet, before the nations shall have been weakened and humbled sufficiently to desire peace. Then will come other troubles. Revolutions will threaten; the governments will associate themselves still more firmly with the nominal church systems, both seeking protection and strength. Next we may expect the great collapse of Spiritual Babylon, leading on to the great revolution-earthquake of Revelation, "So mighty an earthquake as was not since men were upon the earth." (Revelation 16:18.) This in turn, will lead on, according to our understanding of the Bible, to the terrible anarchy, in which all present institutions will succumb before the fire of human passion, prejudice, etc. Then, at the auspicious moment, the Gentile dominions having passed away, Messiah's Kingdom will manifest itself for the blessing of the whole world, and will prove to be "the desire of all peoples."--Haggai 2:7.

We see no reason for doubting, therefore, that the Times of the Gentiles ended in October, 1914; and that a few more years will witness their utter collapse and the full establishment of God's Kingdom in the hands of Messiah. But by that time, the Elijah Class will have passed beyond the Veil; for "when He [Jesus] shall appear in His glory, we [the Church] also will appear with Him."

OUR MISTAKE RESPECTING THE HARVEST

Our readers will remember that the basis of our expectations respecting the Harvest time was the parallelism between the closing of the Jewish Age and the closing of this Gospel Age. We found the beginning of the Harvest time clearly marked by the 1335 Days of prophecy, and by the fulfilment amongst God's people of the declaration: "Oh, the blessedness of him that waiteth and cometh to the end of the 1335 days!" (Daniel 12:12.) Surely great blessedness, great enlightenment of the eyes of understanding, great appreciation of our God and His glorious purposes came to the Lord's people at that time in full agreement with that prophecy! Ever since then a new song has been in the mouths of the Lord's people, as they have learned of His goodness through the Divine Plan of the Ages. We see no reason to question the date, October, 1874, as the beginning of the Harvest time and the parallel to the time when Jesus began His ministry in the Harvest time of the Jewish Age.

Our mistake was along the very line that we pointed out. Time and again, we reminded our readers that the parallelism between the Jewish Age and the Gospel Age could not include anything belonging to the New Dispensation. The parallels affected merely the nominal Jewish House there and the nominal Christian House here. Both were rejected because of failure to be in the right condition of heart for the truths that were due to them--both rejected for destruction. The Jewish System was a Church-State affair, paralleled here by the great Church-State systems of Europe, whose destruction began in 1914.

Let us remember, however, that the three and a half years of Jesus' ministry were more a time of preparation of the Apostles to be the instruments for the harvesting and a sharpening preparation of the Sickle of Truth for the later work, which began at Pentecost. There was no "garner" into which to gather the wheat prior to Pentecost.

JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN PARALLELS

JEWISH-NOMINAL CHURCH CHRISTIAN-NOMINAL CHURCH.
A.D. 29-33 A.D. 1874-1878
"They knew not the time of their visitation."
A.D. 33-36 A.D. 1878-1881
The Most Holy Anointed, Divine favor prolonged for three and a half years to complete the 70 weeks of favor promised to Israel, their rejection being deferred.
A.D. 36-73 A.D. 1881-1918
Because of the overspreading of abominations, He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation of utter destruction--until all that God has predetermined shall be accomplished.--Daniel 9:24-27.

No parallels as between the Pentecostal Church and the true Church now are to be looked for. But the resurrection of Jesus before the Church harvesting began may well be considered to have its parallel here in the resurrection of the sleeping members of the church--1878 A.D.

We should not have looked for parallelisms between the starting of the Gospel Church and its experiences, and the starting in the Harvest time of the Heavenly Church and its experiences. These are no part to the parallel. The parallel belongs to the nominal Jewish System, which went to destruction, and to the nominal Gospel Church, which is now going to destruction.

We imagined that the Harvest work of gathering the Church would be accomplished before the end of the Gentile Times; but nothing in the Bible so said. Our thought was purely an inference, and now we see that it was an unjustified one. This Harvest work belongs to the New Dispensation and cannot be identified with the Old. Anyway, the harvesting of the Jewish Age, gathering "Israelites indeed" into the Gospel Church, did not close with [R5951 : page 264] A.D. 70, but progressed in various parts of the world thereafter. Quite a good many Jews, doubtless, profiting by their terrible experience, were all the better prepared to be gathered into the Gospel Garner after the destruction of their national polity. Similarly, we may expect that quite a good many will yet be gathered to the Heavenly Garner, and we know of no time-limit here.

Incidentally we remark that some historians put the [R5951 : page 265] end of the Jewish Time of Trouble as April A. D. 73, which would correspond to April 1918.

Are we regretful that the Harvest work continues? Nay, verily; we rejoice and have the pleasure each day of showing forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His most marvelous light; and we delight in seeing how others are being benefited and made to rejoice. Are we regretful of the experiences we have had in coming to this present point? Do we feel like repining that the Lord did not force upon us more careful attention to the parallelism? Nay, verily; the Lord's leadings have been good. Perhaps, indeed, we got benefit from the thought that the Harvest work would soon be ended. Perhaps it led us to deeper consecration and greater activity in the service of the Lord, in ourselves and for others. We therefore have nothing to regret.

"Who led us first, will lead us still,
Calmly we sink into His will."

THE BURNING OF THE TARES

In the parable of the "the Wheat and the Tares," the Master puts very prominently the gathering of the tares and the binding of them in bundles for burning. We assumed that this burning would not take place until all the wheat had been gathered into the Heavenly Garner; but apparently this was an incorrect thought. The garnering of the wheat continues; but apparently the consuming of the tares will correspond very closely with the division of Jordan. The tares are a class of (often) noble people who have risen up out of the world infused with hopes and aims of a benevolent character, but misled into thinking that they are the Church. From the tare viewpoint, the wheat are an abnormal growth, a peculiar people, few in number, and not held in high esteem. The smiting of the waters will reveal the truth in respect to what is the real Church of Christ, and what are imitations; and the honest-minded Tare Class will be undeceived, and cease to longer pretend that they are the Church of Christ-- thus they will be burned or cease to be as tares, continuing however as noble-minded worldly people and will have a share in the general blessings of the "sweet by and by" under the Kingdom, for which we still pray.

Our present attitude, dear brethren, should be one of great gratitude toward God, increasing appreciation of the beautiful Truth which He has granted us the privilege of seeing and being identified with, and increasing zeal in helping to bring that Truth to the knowledge of others. In the meantime, our eyes of understanding should discern clearly the Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty now in progress; and our faith, guiding our eyes of understanding through the Word, should enable us to see the glorious outcome--Messiah's Kingdom. Furthermore, we can be fully content not to know how long the Harvest Work will last--content that the great Captain, who by Divine appointment has the entire matter in charge, is too wise to err, and has promised us that all of our experiences shall work together for our good if we love Him and are of "the called ones according to His purpose," seeking to make our calling and election sure.



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GREATER SUFFERINGS--GREATER REWARD
--SEPTEMBER 24.--2 CORINTHIANS 4:16-18.--

FAINT NOT IN TRIBULATION--THE NATURAL MAN PERISHES-- THE NEW CREATURE GROWS--WHAT ARE LIGHT AFFLICTIONS?--WHAT IS THEIR DURATION?--WHAT IS THEIR OBJECT?--HOW SHALL WE ATTAIN THIS OBJECT?

"The things which are not seen are eternal."--Verse 18.
WHAT great Christian courage St. Paul's words and deeds manifest! He that endured so many hardships, a veritable thrashing-machine experience, nevertheless writes: "We faint not; for though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." Ah, that was the secret of the matter-- the renewing of the inward man, the New Creature! The tribulations of the outward man would have been terrible experiences indeed had there been no inward man to take a different view of matters and to learn valuable lessons and experiences from the outward man's tribulations. The inward man had God's assurance that if God were for him the opposition of all others would be as nothing. He had the assurance that God would overrule all of his experiences for his highest welfare. He had the assurance of the Lord, too, that the glories of the future would be proportionate to the trials faithfully endured.

FELLOWSHIP IN CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS

Ah, here we have the secret of the Apostle's great zeal for God, for the Church, for the Truth! He endured as seeing Him who is invisible to natural eyes. (Hebrews 11:27.) St. Paul lived a double life, in the sense that to man he was Saul of Tarsus, but in reality he was Paul, the servant of God, the New Creature in Christ Jesus. The world knew him not; but he knew himself, knew his God; and he was energized by the power Divine and by the Message of God's Word, which spoke to him peace and relationship to God through Christ, and also informed him of the glory, honor and immortality awaiting all the faithful ones at the end of the way.

And this secret of the Apostle's own experience is an open one to all of God's family of spirit-begotten children who faithfully are continuing to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and to be taught of Him through the Word. We do not have so large a manifestation of Divine favor as had Jesus, the Head of the Church, and the Apostles, the foremost members of the Church; but still we have in a general way the same favors of God, the same promises of God, the same inspiring hopes which they had. Let us not forget the Apostle's endurance when we read his words: "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."--2 Corinthians 4:17.

The Apostle gives the same thought when, writing about the resurrection, he declares how it will be with the Church in the resurrection. All the faithful will be glorified, honored, blessed, perfected--not blessed in the same degree, however; but, "As star differeth from star in glory, so also it will be in the resurrection of the dead." (1 Corinthians 15:41, 42.) The same lesson is given us in Daniel's prophecy, where the resurrection is referred to and the resurrected ones are illustrated by the stars, whose beauty and brilliancy vary.--Daniel 12:1-3.

The Apostle's argument was that if the sufferings of Christ, in the Divine arrangement, are to measure the coming glories of Christ, then he desired to be a participator with the Lord in the present sufferings in order that he might also be a participator with Him in the coming glories. Instead, therefore, of saying to himself or to others: "I am doing more than my share of the Gospel work; and some others of you should come and help me, and give me a rest." St. Paul took the other view. He declared himself willing and anxious to fill up as much as possible that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ [R5951 : page 266] (Colossians 1:24.) He counted it all joy to have tribulation, knowing that tribulation would work out the fruits of the Holy Spirit in his character, and thus prepare him for the Kingdom. (Romans 5:3-5.) Incidentally, we remember the assurance of the Bible--that only if we suffer with Christ shall we reign with Him, and that only those who become dead with Him shall live with Him.

THE SECRET OF HIS FAITHFULNESS

Many find it easy to make a start in the Christian way when everything is favorable. Some run briskly for a while, and then grow weary in well-doing. But the Apostle seemed never to weary. He was always on the alert, in season and out of season, so far as his own convenience was concerned. He was ready to preach the Gospel anywhere, everywhere, to all who had the hearing ear. The secret of his perseverance is given us in Verse 18, in the words: "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen."

What do these words mean? They mean that St. Paul had spiritual eyesight. He indeed saw earthly attractions, but they lost their drawing power upon him because of his spiritual sight--his perception of the things unseen. With the eye of faith he saw the Heavenly Father, the glorified Lord Jesus, the Heavenly hosts, the coming Kingdom of glory, honor and immortality. By faith he saw the great Millennial Kingdom spreading out before him, and heard the Divine invitation to become an heir in that Kingdom, to be joined in heirship with the Master and Redeemer. He had accepted this invitation. He had enlisted under the banner of the Master; and he realized that everything else in the world was of practically no value in comparison with these eternal things which God had promised. His confidence was in the Word of God. [R5952 : page 266]

So it is with the Lord's people today. We may see the advantages of politics, social standing, wealth, business, etc., etc. But all these earthly aims and ambitions are of comparatively little value to us because we have seen, with the new eyesight of the New Creature, the Heavenly things. Our ears have heard God's Message. We have been able to discern the things of the Spirit--the things which God hath in reservation for them that love Him, the things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of the natural man. (1 Corinthians 2:9.) We realize more and more that all the things of the present evil world are temporal in character; that they are to pass away with the New Dispensation which is just at the door; and that earthly honors and powers are all of less value every minute.

On the contrary, we see that the things which God offers us are eternal things. Is it any wonder that the Bible sets forth the importance of doctrine? Whoever is well indoctrinated from the real Bible viewpoint is strong in the Lord. Whoever is without this knowledge of the Kingdom and without this spiritual sight and hearing will necessarily be weak, and will lack the evidence of being a New Creature in Christ Jesus.--2 Cor. 5:17.



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A PLOT THAT FAILED
--OCTOBER 1.--ACTS 23:14-24.--

THE WRATH OF MAN OVERRULED--ST. PAUL BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN-- THE HIGH PRIEST REBUKED--ST. PAUL AS A GENERAL-- THE SANHEDRIN DIVIDED IN OPINION--DISSENSION AMONGST THE MEMBERS--THE APOSTLE TAKEN BACK TO THE CASTLE--ENCOURAGED BY A VISION--THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST HIM--INFORMATION CONCERNING THE PLOT GIVEN TO COLONEL LYSIAS--ST. PAUL SENT TO CAESAREA FOR SAFE-KEEPING.
"They shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith Jehovah, to deliver thee."--Jeremiah 1:19.
IN THE morning after the riot and St. Paul's rescue by the Roman soldiers, Colonel Lysias in perplexity called together the Jewish Sanhedrin, in order that they might pass upon the Apostle's case; for by this time he had recognized that the point of dispute was a religious one, and that his duty was merely to preserve the peace. Thus St. Paul was afforded another opportunity to witness the Gospel to the Jews--to their most learned body of men, their most influential Court of Seventy. Perhaps by this time the Apostle began to realize that his trying experiences were furnishing him with superior opportunities as a herald of the Gospel.

Looking back with the eye of faith, we can perceive that this is always so; that, as from the very first, the Lord is supervising His own work. But only in proportion as we know what constitutes the Lord's work can we have and use the eye of faith. We must see that the Divine Program is not to attempt the conversion of the world at the present time, but to leave that work for the future, to be accomplished by Christ's Millennial Kingdom. We must see that during the present Age His work is merely that of selecting, or electing, the Church, to be His Bride-Consort in His Kingdom--His Associate in the great work which will then be accomplished for the whole world.

As St. Paul realized the opportunity granted him of addressing the leaders of his nation, he sought to make wise use of it. Hence the earnestness of his countenance. "Looking steadfastly" at his audience, he began by reminding them of his faithfulness as a Jew. He had ever been a model citizen, never lawless. He addressed the Council as "Brethren," thus putting himself on an equality with them, in respect to both religious zeal and general learning. Indeed, it is quite generally supposed that at the time of the stoning of St. Stephen Saul of Tarsus-- afterwards St. Paul--was a member of the Sanhedrin.

"SPEAK EVIL OF NO MAN"

The address which St. Paul had planned to deliver was interrupted by the high priest, who commanded those who stood by the Apostle to smite him on the mouth. This was a special mark of indignity and a protest against the words uttered. It is not unfair to assume that the high priest felt his own course in life especially condemned by St. Paul's words; for, as the Master declared, "the darkness hateth the light." Josephus charges Ananias with having been a hypocritical grafter of the baser sort, but so crafty that the public in general esteemed him. Suddenly checked in his speech, the Apostle shouted, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall." The prophecy came true. Within two years Ananias was deposed. Within six years he met a horrible death, his own son being associated with his assassins, who drew Ananias from his hiding place in a sewer and slew him.

The term "whited wall" was applied to ordinary graves, which were covered with a stone slab bearing the inscription. These were frequently whitewashed, so as to be easily discernible, lest any traveler should tread upon them and, according to Jewish ritual, be defiled. (Numbers 19:11-16.) The pure, glistening white stone was beautiful; but beneath it was corruption. The strength of the symbol as representing hypocrisy is manifest. [R5952 : page 267]

Some of the bystanders who heard the Apostle asked, "Revilest thou God's high priest?" St. Paul rejoined, "I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, "Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people." (Exodus 22:28.) It will be remembered that the Apostle never fully recovered his eyesight after having been struck blind on the way to Damascus. (Acts 9:8, 9.) Of his imperfect vision, his "thorn in the flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), the Lord refused to relieve him, but assured him that in compensation he should have the more of Divine grace. This answer to his prayer the Apostle gladly accepted. It is possible, therefore, that he did not discern the high priest, or else did not know that the indignity was suggested by Ananias.

A COMMON, BUT DANGEROUS PRACTICE

It is claimed by some that Ananias had usurped his office, and that hence the Apostle's words may have meant that he did not recognize that the true high priest was present. The latter view is implied by the fact that St. Paul did not apologize for his words, but merely showed that he fully recognized the Divine Law that rulers should not be slandered.

This is a good rule for every one today. The tendency to speak evil of dignitaries, to belittle them, to caricature them, is a prevalent sin, which is doing much more to undermine good government than the fun-makers seem to realize. Undoubtedly there are times and ways for protesting against things and methods with which we do not fully agree. But the people of God should preeminently stand for law and order, with as much justice as may be attainable, waiting for absolute justice until the King of kings shall take His Millennial Throne. His command to us meantime is that we "be subject to the powers that be," and "follow peace with all men," so far as possible. --Romans 13:1; Hebrews 12:14.

Incidentally we remark that some are disposed even to speak jestingly of the Lord and the Scriptures. This is a dangerous practice. "The REVERENCE of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"; and it must continue in us, and increase as the years go by, if we would make our calling and election sure to the glorious things which God has in reservation for them that love Him and reverence Him.--Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10.

ST. PAUL'S READY TACT

This incident had interrupted in its beginning the hoped-for presentation of the Gospel. St. Paul perceived that the prejudice against him was such that no speech of his could affect his hearers; for they were dominated by the high priest, whose lack of justice had found so early a manifestation. Like a general who, finding his front attack useless, wheels his forces and, by a flank movement, captures the enemy, so St. Paul captured the sympathies of fully one-half of his auditors. At the same time he secured an opportunity for showing that the doctrine which he preached was the logical outcome of the faith of the large sect of Pharisees.

The Apostle did this by shouting, "I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; and I am being persecuted because of my belief in the doctrine of the resurrection." This statement was strictly true. The word Pharisee signifies a person who professes entire sanctification to God. St. Paul had never ceased to maintain this attitude. His experiences on the way to Damascus had changed his course of conduct, but not his attitude of heart, which from the first was loyal to God--"in all good conscience."

St. Paul well knew that the Sanhedrin was about equally divided between the ultra-orthodox, holiness-professing Pharisees and the agnostic, higher-critical Sadducees, who numbered amongst them many of the most prominent Jews, including priests. The effect of his shout was instantaneous. The Pharisees took his part as one who in some respects believed as they did, although they could not endorse all of his teachings. As between the infidel Sadducees and an out-of-the-way Pharisee, they promptly espoused the cause of the latter. [R5953 : page 267]

A tumult ensued, some seeking to take the Apostle's life, and others endeavoring to protect him. Again Caesar's soldiers needed to intervene between warring factions of the people of God. How sad a scene! How pitiable that those who possessed much advantage every way, as did the Jews under Divine instruction, should so sadly neglect the lessons of the Divine Law in respect to justice and to one another's rights, not to mention the Divine instruction, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"! (Leviticus 19:18.) How pitiable it is that this is sometimes true of Christians possessed of still higher appreciation of the Divine standards and under covenant vows to lay down their lives for the brethren, and indeed exhorted that they cannot win the prize which they seek unless they reach the point of loving their enemies!

True, fisticuffs are not so popular today amongst civilized people. But cannot even greater cruelty be accomplished by the tongue than by the hand? Is it not true that even amongst those who have named the name of Christ and who have taken upon themselves a consecration vow to do His will, many bite and devour one another, under the influence of the spirit of the Adversary-- anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife? As we see these things, shall we not learn a valuable lesson, one which will enable us the better to glorify our Father in Heaven?

A CONSPIRACY EXPOSED AND FOILED

Back in safety to the castle, the Apostle doubtless wondered in what manner the Lord had been glorified by this, his latest experience. Often it is thus with ourselves. But where we cannot trace the Lord's providence and see the outcome, we have all the better opportunity for cultivating the faith which "can firmly trust Him, come what may."

Meanwhile, Colonel Lysias was evidently learning that his prisoner was no common man; for one who could remain calm, alert, dignified, humble and self-possessed, while his opponents were the reverse of all these, evidenced to an unprejudiced mind that he was probably in the right of the controversy. This change of the Roman officer's attitude toward St. Paul was manifested in his kindly treatment of the Apostle's nephew, who had brought word to his uncle that a band of forty men were plotting to take his life.

These conspirators, forty professed religionists, forgetful of the Divine Law, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," had bound themselves to each other by an oath that they would neither eat nor sleep until they had killed St. Paul--a man who had done them no harm, but who had, on the contrary, merely endeavored as wisely as possible to do them good. At the instance of his mother, who was the Apostle's sister, the lad had gained access to the castle and had explained the plot to his uncle, who sent him to the commandant. The latter took the boy by the hand to a private place, heard his story and dismissed him, telling him to keep the matter quiet.

Perceiving that he was in conflict with at least one-half of the influential of Jewry, the commandant concluded that the wisest course for him to pursue would be to put his prisoner under the protection of Felix, the Roman Governor, at Caesarea. Accordingly, at 9 o'clock that very night, two hundred infantry, two hundred spearmen [R5953 : page 268] and seventy horsemen took the Apostle to new quarters, where as an ambassador in bonds he would have fresh opportunity for representing his great Master.

This Study shows us that God prefers to use natural means rather than supernatural agencies; and that all of His children should be on the alert to serve His Cause at any and every moment. God's purposes will be accomplished. But happy is he who is accounted worthy of the privilege of any service to the Lord or to the least of His brethren. Let us, then, be continually on the lookout, in an inquiring attitude of mind, desirous of knowing the mind of the Lord in every matter. As for the Apostle, doubtless he learned a lesson which we might all profitably consider; namely, that while having full confidence in the Divine will, it is ours to protect reasonably and properly our lives and interests as well as those of others.



[R5953 : page 268]

ST. PAUL BEFORE FELIX
--OCTOBER 8.--ACTS 24:1-21.--

ST. PAUL AT CAESAREA, THE ROMAN CAPITAL OF JUDEA-- HIS TRIAL BEFORE THE ROMAN GOVERNOR--THE CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST THE APOSTLE--ST. PAUL'S DEFENSE--THE DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION THE THEME OF HIS PREACHING--THIS DOCTRINE LOST SIGHT OF BY MANY PROFESSED CHRISTIANS OF OUR DAY--THE ROMAN GOVERNOR INTERESTED IN THE APOSTLE'S TEACHINGS--ST. PAUL A PRISONER FOR TWO YEARS.
"Herein I also exercise myself to have a conscience void of offense toward God and man always."--Verse 16.
FELIX, the Roman Governor of Judea, received St. Paul as a prisoner. The Apostle's enemies, the high priest and other Jewish rulers, hastened down from Jerusalem to Caesarea, thirsting for his blood. They brought with them a Roman lawyer, named Tertullus, whose knowledge of Roman usage would, they hoped, enable them to prove that St. Paul was a dangerous character--a sort of anarchist. Felix was the judge. There were no jurors. Tertullus, skilled as a pleader, made his charges and confirmed them by witnesses from Jerusalem.

Shrewdly the Roman attorney complimented the Governor along the lines of his hitherto efficiency in preserving the peace, in putting down every form of insurrection and in maintaining quiet and order. This very completely paved the way for the lawyer's request that the Governor should continue this praiseworthy course and rid the land of an obnoxious trouble-maker--the Apostle. Witnesses were produced who testified respecting the first tumult in the Temple at Jerusalem and also respecting that of the following day, in which the Sanhedrin became divided into two parts and a general uproar ensued. The Apostle was charged with being a ringleader of a sect called Nazarenes; and the claim was made that he had caused trouble amongst both Jews and Greeks the world over.

This was Tertullus' case. He charged that the prisoner was guilty of sacrilege--that St. Paul had defiled the Temple; and the inference was deducible that the Apostle had caused rioting within the holy sanctuary. Witnesses were procured to prove that these charges were true.

Governor Felix motioned to the Apostle that he was at liberty to answer the charges. Then St. Paul opened his defense with the remark that he was gratified that his judge had been on the bench for some time and was well acquainted with Jewish customs; that he would therefore understand what a novice could not--why the Apostle had come to Jerusalem to worship after the manner of the Jews, to celebrate one of their religious festivals. He had come, not to raise an insurrection, but to worship God after the Jewish custom; and no witness had testified that he was found in the Temple either disputing or gathering a crowd. The charge was untrue. He did not do these things in the synagogues or anywhere else; and his enemies could not prove the things whereof they accused him.

The Apostle's answer was both logical and complete. Still the Governor could not understand why, under the circumstances, there should be a commotion. Hence it was necessary for St. Paul to explain that the Jews had an antipathy against him because of his different religious belief, not because of any wrong-doing on his part.

THE DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION

St. Paul avowed that he had experienced no change in his Jewish belief--that he still believed the teachings of the Law and the writings of the Prophets; that he still held to the fundamental Jewish doctrine of the necessity of a resurrection of the dead; and that he still had faith in the Promise that through the resurrection of the dead God's blessing should ultimately come to Israel, and through Israel to all the families of the earth. Furthermore, he exercised himself, trained himself, disciplined himself, to keep his conscience pure, free from violation of Divine and human laws.

This was a grand testimony. Its force should have had weight, not only with the Governor, but also with the Jews, who murderously sought the Apostle's life because of a little difference of opinion on religious questions. What a lesson we have here! A Roman Governor and judge of not too savory a reputation; a prosecuting attorney willing to sell his talents for money, regardless of the principles of justice; the Jewish high priest, typical of the great Messiah, associating himself with those who were endeavoring to pervert justice and to destroy one of "the salt of the earth"!

Our Lord had foretold that some of His disciples would stand before kings and princes, but that they should not be dismayed. He would stand by them to give them assistance. (Matthew 10:17-22.) How literally this was fulfilled in St. Paul's case! How evidently the Lord stood by him and gave him the suitable words!

The Apostle proceeded to explain that he had brought alms to his nation, the offerings of Gentiles who had heard his Message of the grace of God. Certain Jews from Asia Minor had found him purified in the Temple, but without cry or tumult. These Jews should have been brought forward as witnesses. Or those who were making the charges against him should have been specific; they should have said on the day following the attack by the mob--the day when he was brought before the Sanhedrin-- what he did tumultuously in the Temple or what wrong-doing they had found in him. Only one charge could they make; namely, that while standing amongst them he had cried out, "Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called into question this day!" Surely the Governor could not think that in this there was anything akin to rioting or anarchy! The prisoner had been in the right; but those who were accusing him had been in the wrong.

A DOCTRINE LOST SIGHT OF

The Apostle's testimony shows us that in all of his preaching he laid special stress upon the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. Alas, that in our day this doctrine has been measurably page 269 lost sight of! Few Christians ever think of the resurrection. Few have ever heard a sermon upon this subject. Why is this?

We reply that it is because a great error has come in amongst Christian people in respect to the condition of the dead. According to both Catholics and Protestants, only the saintly are fit for Heaven at death. Both agree that only finished characters could properly be admitted there. Both agree to our Lord's words respecting the Kingdom: "Few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13, 14.) Our Catholic friends tell us that nearly all mankind --heathens, Catholics and Protestants--go to Purgatory, where for centuries they will undergo terrible sufferings, which will purge them from sin and prepare them for Heaven. Many Protestant friends tell us that they do not see even this hope; that from their standpoint only the "little flock" go to Heaven; that all the great mass of mankind, unprepared for the presence of God, must go somewhere; and that the only place for them is a Hell of eternal torture, from which there will be no escape.

We shall not quarrel with either party. Both views are too horrible to be reasonable or just, not to mention loving! We prefer to go back to the words of Jesus and the Apostles, and to note that according to their teachings the dead are really dead, and that their only hope is, as the Apostle expresses it, a resurrection hope--"the hope of the resurrection," the hope "that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust." --Acts 24:15.

It is not the resurrection of the body that the Bible teaches, but the resurrection of the soul; and "God will give it a body" at the time of the awakening. (1 Corinthians 15:38.) We could wish that all Christian people would arouse themselves to a thorough study of the Scriptures. Then the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead would be given its proper place; and much of the fog of the Dark Ages would thus be gotten rid of--the fog which has troubled us, saddened our hearts and turned many away from God and the Bible into infidelity.

THE COMING JUDGMENT DAY

After having heard both sides of the case, the governor-judge set it aside until Claudius Lysias, the commandant of Fort Antonia, the Roman officer who had made the arrest, should be heard. Meantime, St. Paul was given great liberty, the real status of his case evidently being quite clearly understood by Governor Felix.

Subsequently the governor, apparently much impressed by the Apostle's demeanor, called for him again, at a time when his wife, a Jewess, was present. He wished her to hear the Gospel Message, which seems to have appealed to him as reasonable. St. Paul doubtless reviewed much of his previous testimony, and then reasoned respecting a coming judgment, or trial--that eternal destinies are not fixed as a result of the present life.

Assuredly the Apostle explained that God has appointed a Day of trial, or judgment, for the whole world of mankind--the Millennial Day, a thousand years long. (2 Peter 3:7, 8.) During that period all mankind shall have a full trial as to worthiness or unworthiness of human perfection and life everlasting. The obedient shall be blessed, uplifted, raised up, up, up to perfection. The wilfully disobedient shall be destroyed in the Second Death.

"A JUST RECOMPENSE OF REWARD"

If, then, the trial of the world is to be in the future Age, and if in the present Age God is merely electing, or selecting, the Church to be the Bride of His Son and Joint-heir in the Messianic Kingdom, which is to bless the world, how could these matters have any special influence upon Felix and his wife? We reply, In two ways:

(1) It might influence them to accept Christ and to seek to be of the elect Church;

(2) Knowing of their future trial, they should know that the words and the deeds of the present life have much to do with the status of the individual when he is awakened from the tomb. The vicious, the hypocritical, the self-righteous, the wanton, the profligate, degrade themselves and increase the number of steps which they must retrace during the Millennium. On the contrary, every good deed, every victory gained, every practice of moderation, will make the individual correspondingly the better prepared for the next life. Every generous deed of the present life makes its impress upon the character, and will bring proportionate blessings in that Millennial Judgment Day. On the other hand, every evil deed, every violation of conscience, will receive its "stripes," or just punishment.

As Felix listened to the Apostle, he was conscience-stricken. According to this teaching, he would have much for which to give account as one of the "unjust" in the resurrection. We note that St. Paul said nothing about fiery tortures, which an intelligent mind must repudiate as unreasonable; but his argument was all the stronger without such assertions. His forceful declaration was, "A just recompense of reward both for the just and for the unjust." Finally the governor dismissed him with the memorable words, "Go thy way for this time. When I have a more convenient season I will call for thee."

Time and again Governor Felix called for the Apostle; but apparently never did he find his heart in a sufficiently mellow and humble condition to accept the Apostle's Message and to surrender to the Lord. A lesson in this connection for us all is that we should do promptly whatever we realize to be our duty. For two years St. Paul remained a prisoner at Caesarea, comfortably provided for, preparing for the further services of his life, and writing several epistles to the various Churches.



[R5953 : page 269]

I.B.S.A. CONSCRIPTS IN GREAT BRITAIN

THE LONDON OFFICE WRITES:--

"Measures taken by the Government during the present year have drawn all men of Military age (18 to 41) into the Army, automatically, the only exceptions being those prescribed by the Act itself. Among these are Men of Holy Orders and regular Ministers of any Religious Denomination. As some 160 of the Elders of various Ecclesias were affected by this, we thought it wise and proper to see if they were not properly excepted from the Act, especially on account of the need of their services in the Ecclesias. A test case, on a friendly basis, was arranged with the War Office and tried at Edinburgh on Monday (17th inst.), when the Crown was represented by counsel. The decision given by the Court was entirely in our favor, the Sheriff ruling that this Association is a properly constituted Religious Institution, and that the Elders are Ministers within the meaning of the Act, and therefore properly excepted from the Act.

"We do not know, as yet, whether the War Office will require further proof before acknowledging our status, but we are corresponding with them as to this. If this matter is finally settled in our favor, we are hopeful that the Colporteurs, etc., will be granted a special concession as Lay Evangelists and Agents of the Association.

"At the present time those of our Brethren who have been conscripted can be described as follows:

   Doing work of a combative character. . . . . . . . . 0
   Doing work of a non-combative character. . . . . . .20
   Imprisoned through failure to obey Military orders .58
   Given work of National Importance apart from
     the Military, having satisfied the Tribunals of
     the genuineness of their conscientious objection 103
[R5953 : page 270]

"Quite a number have been medically rejected and a few have been given exemption on account of the important religious work they have on hand.

"At the Court in Edinburgh quite a good witness was made. Brother Shearn was chief witness and he was before the Court 1-½ hours, one-third of the time explaining wherein our teachings differ from those of the Denominations. The Court seemed really interested as well as satisfied. The hand of the Lord was manifestly with us."


DEATH SENTENCES COMMUTED--ALL SERENE

BOULOGNE, FRANCE.

Loving Christian Greeting to all the dear ones in Christ Jesus! We were "read out" on Saturday last, and the verdict you will be anxious to hear is now public: "Sentenced to suffer death by being shot, but commuted to 10 years' Penal Servitude." We are still peaceful in the knowledge of our Heavenly Father's loving care, and are not too greatly concerned, for have we not agreed to be faithful to the Lord, come what may? and we came out here in full reliance upon the Lord's grace and prepared in the strength He supplies for anything He should deem good for us.

And now for the future: I suppose we shall see the inside of a prison for a while; but as to whether we shall serve so long remains to be seen. I do not consider the sentence to be as big as it looks. They have to keep up appearances out here, you understand. I expect we shall leave here about Tuesday or Wednesday, so do not send any particular communication after this reaches you.

We have had some nice studies; Lot as a type of Great Company, more of Psalm 89, and also Hebrews 7.

The way before us is uncertain, but we have learned so much of the Lord's care during the past few weeks that we are prepared to leave all in His hands. We have this confidence, born of our Christian experience, particularly that of recent days, that He who is for us is more than all that can be against us. There is not the least doubt in our minds that if we trust Him, we shall not be confounded, though storm and tempest may come. Oh, what a joy and peace this knowledge brings to our souls! Here is another "mystery of the Kingdom." Those with whom we have come in contact cannot understand our being so quiet and confident, when, as they say, the situation is so serious; and we do not murmur at our trials, because we count it a privilege to suffer for righteousness' sake.

Continue to pray for us that we may come out of the fire purified and made white.

Love to all the dear brethren. (Romans 15:5-7.)
ROWLAND JACKSON.


[R5954 : page 270]

ARMY'S CALL TO AN EDINBURGH COLPORTEUR
BELIEFS OF THE I.B.S.A.

"The plea that he was a regular minister of a religious denomination, and therefore not liable for service, was advanced on behalf of a young man named James Frederick Scott, residing at 2 Leslie Place, Stockbridge, and connected with the International Bible Students Association, who pleaded not guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today before Sheriff-Substitute Orr to a charge of having failed to appear at the recruiting office when called up under the Military Service Act.

"The Honorable Secretary of the I.B.S.A., Mr. H.J. Shearn, examined by Mr. M'Laren, counsel for the defence, explained some of the work of the Association. Its meetings, he said, were open to the public, and they never took collections. To disseminate the Gospel and to establish Christians in churches for their spiritual education was the purpose of the Association's centers for Bible study. There were about 300 of these centers in Great Britain, of which there were about thirty in Scotland. They believed they were at present near the end of a Dispensation, and so were not surprised that things in the world were disturbed now. Mr. Scott was an Elder of the Edinburgh Church, or center of the Association.

"Witness, cross-examined by Mr. Wark, advocate, said there were in Great Britain about 160 Elders of military age. There was adult baptism, but not baptism of infants.

"Replying to the Sheriff, the witness said that members of the Association did not believe many things believed by other denominations. Members of the Association did not believe that the conversion of the world had commenced. Rather did they believe that God was gathering out now those who would deal with the world later on as Abraham's true sons. They did not understand that the human family was to share with God a heavenly home. They understood that man's future home was the earth, made glorious, and man restored to the perfection lost through Adam's transgression. They did not believe in the immortality of the soul, but they did believe in the resurrection of the just and unjust. They looked upon their Elders as regular ministers set apart for the spiritual instruction of members.

"When the accused entered the witness-box he told the Court that he was twenty-five years of age, and unmarried. He joined the I.B.S.A. at Dundee in 1909, and was an Elder of the Edinburgh Church, a post for which he received no payment. He made his living as a Colporteur for the Association, and his pay was the profits on the sale of literature. The duties of an Elder in the Edinburgh Church of the Association were to minister to the spiritual needs of the Church, to conduct public and private meetings, and to assist members to a proper understanding of the Word of God. They had to attend to the sacraments, baptisms, and the Lord's Supper, and visit the sick.

"He himself had taken part in a baptismal service in the Dalry Baths. He was one of the two Elders who took part, and about a dozen people were baptized. He had also taken part in communion services, but he had not officiated at a marriage or a funeral.

"Amongst other evidence put forward on behalf of the accused was that of a Patrick man, who was married by an Elder of the Association, and the latter's signature was accepted by the Registrar-General as that of a 'regular minister.'

"The Sheriff held that accused came under the exception provided by the Act, and found him not guilty of the charge."--Evening Dispatch.



[R5954 : page 270]

INTERESTING LETTERS

LEARNING THE TRUE SECRET OF TRIALS

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

Joyous greetings in the name of our blessed Master. For many months I have desired to write to thank you for all the help I have received through STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, THE WATCH TOWER, etc.

In THE WATCH TOWER of April 15th, 1915, you published an article on "Love," desiring to know the progress made by those who particularly desired the growth of the chiefest of spiritual graces. At that time I was on a bed of sickness and much pain. The message of joy and peace which that WATCH TOWER brought to me I can never fully express in words. I longed to grow more in love, and I prayed earnestly that the Lord would grant my desire. He has, more abundantly than I had thought possible.

I have learned that trials and difficulties, under Divine providence, are intended to develop our characters and to make us copies of the Master, thus preparing us for the Kingdom and for the great work of blessing others. They are but stepping stones, helping our progress in the narrow way of self-sacrifice, helping us to draw closer to the Lord, recognizing His hand in all life's affairs toward "the called ones according to His Purpose." There is an advantage in every trial, if rightly received. I have learned that they really assist us to put on the whole Armor of God, assist us in growing in the graces of the Spirit and especially in this crowning grace of "Love"; and not only in Love, but in patient endurance. They help us to tread faithfully in the footsteps of our Lord until the Kingdom, for which the Church has prayed so long, is attained.

I have learned, too, that sometimes matters which seem dark clouds and insurmountable difficulties, under His loving Hand are but messengers bidding me to "yet closer draw"; for "He would embrace my care"; and that if loving Him and trusting Him, I must "lean hard."

"He loves me too well to forsake me,
Or to give me a trial too much."

With the knowledge of His love and care I go on my way rejoicing, praying Him to continue His good work begun in me, and to grant by His grace that I may do nothing to hinder it.

I pray daily for you, that God may graciously guide and preserve you, and continue the blessing you have heretofore bestowed. With much Christian love,

Your sister in the Master,
MABEL STEWARD.--S. Africa.

[R5954 : page 271]

WORDS FAIL TO EXPRESS HER GRATITUDE

DEARLY BELOVED PASTOR AND BROTHER:--

Having been told by a brother in the Truth that my experience would make your heart glad, I am writing, although I fear I cannot put into words my gratitude for this great joy which has come into my life through the I.B.S.A. I was always longing for more light until God sent someone about a year ago to open the eyes of my understanding. I had a severe struggle with doubts and fears, as to whether this was what I had craved or whether the Church of England and others were mistaken.

For years I had been feeling very sick of what seemed to me such shallowness in our religion; but oh, I did not then understand the Love of God; how can I thank Him for His wondrous love! I now love and understand my Bible and am hoping this new year may bring this joy to others who are Truth-hungry as I was.

I enjoy the WATCH TOWERS and pass them on to others who are interested. I saw the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, and although I could not deny its power, sixteen years of Church-of-England teaching then had a hold upon me from which I thank God I am now free. I hope to be baptized very soon.

With heart-felt love for your work in His name, I am

Your Sister in the Truth,
PRISCILLA COMPTON.--Eng.


WHEN DIVORCED PEOPLE ARE FREE TO MARRY

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I am well aware that Volume VI., STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, seems to touch every phase of the experiences, difficulties and proper course of action of the Lord's people of the New Creation; nevertheless, a question has arisen which is causing some perplexity in our Class and threatens a division. A Brother and a Sister, members of our Class, have always enjoyed our fellowship, until now it is learned that the Sister was previously married, and that her first husband is still living and has remarried.

Some of our Class desire to disfellowship this Brother and Sister and to forbid their attendance at the meetings. The main contention is based upon the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:9-- "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." In the case mentioned it is claimed that the Sister's first husband had been guilty of adultery; but others claim that this would not release her for remarriage; for Jesus said that whosoever marrieth a divorced woman (whether properly divorced or not) would be committing adultery. Please give us a little more light on these points.

Very truly your Brother,
----.

[The Class is evidently making a mistake in allowing the matter here presented to cause any division or disturbance. In any event they would seem to have no ground for forbidding attendance at meeting. The very most they might vote would be to withdraw fellowship and include in this a refusal to visit at their home or to invite them to the homes of the Class--the Class declining also to appoint the Brother to any office, such as Deacon or Elder. As for refusing them the privilege of attending public meeting, that would be very inconsistent; for surely all kinds of people living in all kinds of sin come occasionally to meetings, and we hope that by coming they may be benefited and recovered.

In this case, where it is admitted that adultery was the basis of divorce and that the fault was with the husband, it plainly comes within the exception mentioned by our Lord-- "except for adultery." Besides, if that had not been originally the cause of the separation, the fact that the former husband had remarried signifies that he had considered the marriage tie broken; and therefore the first wife was released from its obligation. Evidently the Sister whose case you cite has both of these proofs on her side and had every right, therefore, to have married, if she thought that the wisest and proper thing to do.

It is not supposable that our Lord meant merely a separation between husband and wife; for St. Paul counsels that if the unbeliever depart, let him depart--do not consider it a hardship, but rather take it as a blessing. He does not say that the departing of the husband or wife would be a divorce. A divorce is a full breaking of the original marriage contract. Jesus was criticizing the too slack observance of the marriage tie, and condemning it. He declared that the marriage contract could not be fully broken except by adultery.

In our day these matters are regulated by courts. Very properly, Bible Students govern themselves additionally by the Word of God. The fact that a court would grant a divorce would not by a Bible Student be considered liberation from the marriage bonds, unless upon the one ground which the Master specified. But a court divorce is to be respected when it is backed by the condition of adultery--or backed by a second marriage of the separated one.]


CHANGED ATTITUDE TOWARD SPIRITISM

DEAR SIRS:--

I am obliged for your book on Spiritism and several papers on this and other subjects. Since writing you, I have gotten in touch with your branch at Lancaster Gate, London, and have purchased from them twelve booklets and the first volume of your Series, THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES, besides matter on other subjects of interest. Owing to delay in foreign money orders, I will continue to get books from your London branch.

I have now carefully read your book on SPIRITISM, and can say that I agree with it entirely. I find your explanations in accord with reason and also my eight years' investigation of "Modern Spiritism," with which I am not now connected.

Through your SPIRITISM book my wife and I have changed our attitude toward Spiritism. We were developing very quickly, and my wife was a clairaudient, clairvoyant and trance medium, while she appeared to have materialistic faculties. I had not developed far, but was likely to become a trance medium and had several experiences and was conscious of presences in normal times.

I think your book not at all overdrawn, and believe Spiritism is demoralizing, anti-Christian and the effort and work of demon spirits.

Your SPIRITISM book has enlightened me on many things I could not quite see through, and though an investigator I was not blind to everything that went on around me, as are most of the attendants at "circles."

I have sent several of your books to friends whom I had interested in Spiritism and shall send to others in due time.

Yours faithfully,
ERNEST E. NOBLE.--England.


page 271

A GREAT CHANGE OF MIND

MY DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--

For a long time I have wanted to write you, but up to now have hesitated, lest I should trespass on your valuable time too much, knowing that you are very busy. But I would do violence to my conscience if I did not tell you that only a few years ago I despised even to look at your picture, and for years would not read a line written by you! Our Father knows them that are His, and He knows exactly how to deal with them to bring them into subjection to His will.

In 1910 dear Sister Lentz, who is now with our dear Master, led me into the Present Truth, by leaving the Fifth Volume in my office, requesting me to examine it. This I did after telling her a lie about it. Before opening the book I got down on my knees and asked my Heavenly Father to guide me. I got up and read two chapters, with Bible in hand, when I received such a blessing, that when the Sister called the next morning I asked if she had any more books like that, what was the price and how soon could I have them. She gave the price and I handed her the money, and told her to bring them at once; for I had found what I had been looking for for years. Yet I objected to taking the Vow; but continuing to read, I decided that I would best take it; and now I do not see how I could get along without it. The most helpful clause in it, to me is, "I vow to further scrutinize my thoughts, words and doings."

I will close by thanking you for being the instrument in God's hand of leading me into the absolute Truth. Pray for me! With Christian love, I am
YOUR BROTHER, ---- M.D.



BETHEL HYMNS FOR OCTOBER

After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for October follow:

(1) 149; (2) 145; (3) 50; (4) 299; (5) 38; (6) 7; (7) 188; (8) 155; (9) 103; (10) 333; (11) 95; (12) 221; (13) 273; (14) 286; (15) 313; (16) 123; (17) 102; (18) 130; (19) 60; (20) 326; (21) 165; (22) 312; (23) 252; (24) 105; (25) 14; (26) 65; (27) 108; (28) Vow; (29) 32; (30) 4; (31) 186.



page 273
September 1st

ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

VOL. XXXVIISEPTEMBER 15No. 18

A. D. 1916--A.M. 6044


CONTENTS

Danger in Spiritual Pride275
One Symptom of This Soul-Sickness276
Still further Symptoms276
Special Test Upon Elders and Deacons277
Great Necessity for Self-Examination279
God First--Self Last279
Application of Principles280
Justification--What? When? How?281
Cleansing of flesh Not Justification281
The Appeal to Caesar282
St. Paul's Defense Before King Agrippa283
The Voyage to Rome284
Days of Trial and Danger284
Niagara and Nashville Conventions285
Interesting Letters286
The Lord has Strengthened His Heart286
The Censer--The Fire--The Incense286
A Preacher Who Sees Light286
Manna, Vow, Morning Resolve Blessings287
Thought He Did God Service287

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 274

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION

THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (I Pet. 1:19; I Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (I Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
 
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.




GENERAL CONVENTIONS

SEATTLE, WASH., CONVENTION

Excursion rates for Seattle Convention, Sept. 14-17, have been secured, and all those arranging to attend can secure these by inquiring of their local Ticket Agent.

MILWAUKEE CONVENTION

The Merchants' and Manufacturers' Assn., representing 1500 of the city's leading business men, have invited the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION to hold a Convention in the City of Milwaukee, Sept. 16 to 24. They have placed their splendid Auditorium at our disposal, its seating capacity being over 3000, with smaller halls conveniently connected with the main Auditorium.

RAILROAD RATES.--The Central Passenger Association informs us that they grant no excursion rates in their territory, owing to the fact that the two-cent per mile rate prevails. We have learned, however, that regular summer tourists' excursion rates prevail from many points in this territory, and also in North and South Dakota, Wyoming and certain parts of Minnesota. Friends coming from this territory should inquire of their local ticket agent about regular tourists' rates to Milwaukee, or to Chicago via Milwaukee.

A SPLENDID PROGRAM.--The Program contains the names of some of the Association's best speakers, and is a splendid one. Brother Russell will be present the latter part of the Convention. Arrangements are being made for an I.B.S.A. steamboat excursion on Lake Michigan Thursday afternoon, Sept. 21. Everything connected with the Convention arrangements leads us to believe that the Convention will be a profitable one, and we look for a large attendance.

DAYTON, OHIO, CONVENTION

Mayor G.W. Shroyer, of Dayton, has extended a hearty invitation to our Association to hold a Convention in this city. We have accepted the invitation and appointed the dates of October 5 to 8. Governor White has placed at our disposal the Soldiers' Home Memorial Hall, where the various sessions of the Convention will be held during the morning and afternoon, with the exhibition of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION in the evening. We had hoped to secure special concessions from the railroads running into Dayton, but have been unable to do so. However, those contemplating attending the Convention would do well to inquire of their Ticket Agent regarding local rates. We are preparing a very attractive Program. Brother Russell will be present during the latter part of the Convention.

DALLAS, TEXAS, CONVENTION

The friends at Dallas inform us that exceptionally low excursion rates are granted their city on account of the Dallas State Fair, Oct. 19-22, and we have arranged for a four-day Convention to be held on these dates. The various Convention sessions will be held in Oak Cliff Casino, cor. Crawford and Fifth Sts., during the morning and afternoon: the PHOTO-DRAMA will be shown at night. Brother Russell will be present during the latter part of the Convention. Those desiring information regarding rooms, railroad rates, etc., should communicate with E.G. Rust, 2517 Harrison Ave., Dallas, Texas.



I.B.S.A. BEREAN BIBLE STUDIES
FOR MONTH OF OCTOBER
QUESTIONS FROM
MANUAL ON SERIES THIRD
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES"
STUDY VI.--"THE WORK OF THE HARVEST"
STUDY VII.--"DELIVERANCE AND EXALTATION OF CHURCH"
Week of Oct. 1. Q. 148 to 153    Week of Oct. 15. Q. 161 to 166
Week of Oct. 8. Q. 154 to 160    Week of Oct. 22. Q.   1 to   7
Week of Oct. 29. Q. 8 to 14
Question Manuals on Vol. III., STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, 5c each: or 50c per dozen, postpaid.



[R5955 : page 275]

DANGER IN SPIRITUAL PRIDE

PRIDE in any form and in anybody is a dangerous thing. In a worldly way the proverb is well attested, "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall"; and surely very, very few people have anything of which they might justly be proud! Some who hold their heads high with the pride of a haughty spirit, as though they were especially created out of some preferable "dust of the earth," have really nothing to boast of as to ancestry. A very few generations back are generally sufficient for any boaster.

The world is learning that it is not wise to boast of riches, lest thereby some one ask how were the riches accumulated and by whom, and whether they were honestly obtained. Pride of education is not appropriate, either; for education in general signifies the learning of what other people have found out or have written as history. And in our day those who would boast of great education have need of humility lest it be found that the very thing that they are boasting about has been disproven by later researches. Scientific books of the year 1900 will not pass muster today, nor their theories stand in the light of present knowledge. So if it were right to boast of knowledge, the boaster would need to be very careful to keep up to date.

Pride of one's beauty or physical perfection is scarcely to be excused; for the beauty of form and feature came by heredity, and the parent rather than the child might have some reason for pride. Pride as respects clothing, adornments is also foolish. The maker of the fabrics or the ornaments might have some reason for pride in the handiwork, but surely the wearer has not! He is merely appropriating to himself the skill and labor of others.

SPIRITUAL PRIDE WORST OF ALL

But our theme is spiritual pride! We would divide it into two classes: first, the spiritual pride of the merely nominal or professing Christian; and second, the spiritual pride affecting true Christians.

The spiritual pride of the nominal church-goer is not all hypocrisy. He sees spiritual forms and ceremonies, hears spiritual songs and sermons, and in many instances is not aware but that he himself is a true Christian, as much so as any. Does he not go regularly to meeting? Is he not a regular contributor, not only to the expenses of the house of worship, but in general to the forwarding of the Lord's cause--charities, etc., as these are presented to him from time to time?

However they have lived during the week, however they have dealt with the butcher and the baker, most church-goers take a pleasurable pride in joining some of the showy groups moving toward church buildings. The spiritually proud usually prefer the showiest and most aristocratic and high-toned temples of worship. At the conclusion of the services they feel a self-satisfaction. Have they not worshiped God? Ought not all people to worship Him? How many others have not done so! They feel a spiritual pride or superiority when comparing themselves with non-attendants.

They went not for spiritual instruction; or even if any were given in the places visited, they were not themselves in condition to receive such--not being spirit-begotten. They had no real hunger for righteousness, for truth. They had merely satisfied a feeling of duty. They had in a sense done penance, and hoped that somehow, sometime it would inure to their advantage--perhaps saving them from some of the worst degrees of purgatorial sufferings-- perhaps even making them acceptable for Heaven. Why should not God feel grateful to them for having denied themselves and wasted a few of their precious hours to go worship Him?

Although they would not put it so, they feel in a measure that God would be very unjust if He would pass by such a matter and not reward it handsomely. They feel spiritually proud and self-satisfied, and so long as in that condition are not in a particle of danger of getting hold of the Truth. Nor need we suppose that the Great Adversary would especially give his attention to them, for they are very safely under his influence. Was he not the first to manifest pride and to say in his heart, "I will ascend above the sons of God [I will take a higher position than others]; I will be as the Most High"? Spiritual pride was evidently Satan's great mistake, which led to his complete downfall.

Some who make no pretense of belief in God or in the Lord Jesus Christ or in the Bible have what might be termed a sort of spiritual pride. They pride themselves on living a moral life, on being able to conduct themselves honorably and decently in life--never getting drunk, never doing some of the seriously immoral and perverse things that many others do. In pride and boastfulness they will say: "I feel myself just as good as any church member, and I never go to church." And by this they mean, "I feel myself to be better than any church member." They are merely mixing modesty of statement with pride of thought in the proportion which they think will best influence the hearer.

Press the inquiry a little further--as to what good works they especially rejoice in--and they will tell how as "Odd Fellows," "Masons," etc., they sat up one night with [R5955 : page 276] a brother of the Order who was not very sick, who did not need very much attention and who had a trained nurse anyway to take care of him; but they felt as though they had been doing a noble work of charity. In general, their pride is that they have not violated the laws; that they have lived decent, respectable lives. Is there really anything in this that is an occasion for pride, for special self-congratulation? What man or woman should not keep the laws and should not be ashamed if he failed to keep the laws--especially when we would remember that those laws were made--not for good people, but for evil-doers?

SPIRITUAL PRIDE IN THE TRUE CHURCH

Now we come down to the most serious thing of all! The pride which is merely foolish or semi-hypocritical in the world and in the nominal Christians becomes a very serious matter indeed if it invades the heart and the life of the child of God. But why do we make such a difference? Why say that spiritual pride would be so very dangerous in one of the Lord's saints, whereas it would be little more than foolishness in the world? Ah! the difference is that these are God's special representatives in the world, who must become copies of God's dear Son if they would ever attain to the glory, honor and immortality to which they have been invited by the Lord.

When they gave themselves entirely to the Lord and were justified from sin through the imputation of the Redeemer's sacrifice, and were thus introduced into the family of God and begotten of the Holy Spirit, it meant a great change for these. Old things passed away; all things became new. These, and these alone, are on trial during this Gospel Age for eternal life or eternal death. And of all their temptations and beguilements, the sin of spiritual pride is probably one of the most dangerous of all. In proportion as it comes in, the Spirit of the Lord departs, and the spirituality of the individual ceases. This spiritual sickness, unless curbed, would surely lead on to the Second Death, for "the Lord resisteth the proud and showeth His favor to the humble."--James 4:6.

The Apostle Peter evidently had this besetting danger of spiritual pride in mind when he wrote to the Church: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." (1 Peter 5:6.) "Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted," said the Master.

ONE SYMPTOM OF THIS SOUL-SICKNESS

How may we know spiritual pride? some one may inquire. One of the most serious things in this connection [R5956 : page 276] is that those who have spiritual pride very rarely are aware of it. They sometimes have forms of godliness which not only deceive others, but deceive themselves and hinder them from seeing the spiritual pride which is working and which others may more readily see.

When you feel that your attendance at meetings, your reading of so many pages of SCRIPTURE STUDIES per day, your distribution of so many tracts, or your circulation or loaning of so many books, are matters to be boasted of--then take care! That disposition to boast is an indication that you would be in danger of catching spiritual pride if circumstances were favorable. These are all good and laudable things, all proper things; and you should feel a proper degree of self-congratulation that you find yourself able and willing to turn from the daily newspaper or novel, the reading of chitchat, or the writing of chitchat, to do things so reasonable, so proper, so much in harmony with the Divine will. But any disposition to boast of the matter should lead you to a careful scrutiny of thought--of the motives lying behind these activities in the Lord's service.

We are not meaning to say that it would be improper to give a testimony in which all of these things might be brought forward as an encouragement to others or as a proof that we love the Lord and are anxious to serve Him. What we are cautioning against is a spirit, or disposition, to boast of anything that we might be or do as the Lord's children. We have nothing whereof to boast. If we gave all of our goods to feed the spiritually poor, all our time to circulating the Truth, and all of our energy to the honoring of the Lord's name, we should feel that, having done all, we had not really profited our Lord, but merely found an opportunity of showing Him a little of the devotion of our hearts in acknowledgment of the numberless blessings already received at His hand, and the still more wonderful favors which He has promised shall be ours, if faithful. Well did the poet write:

"I want the first approach to feel
Of pride or fond desire!"

STILL FURTHER SYMPTOMS

Another form of this disease of spiritual pride manifests itself in a hypercritical attitude of mind. When one attends a testimony meeting, or a Berean class, and hears no real good testimony but his own, hears no proper answer except his own to any of the questions, never sees an Elder in the chair who knows how to lead a meeting anyway--these should be considered dangerous symptoms of spiritual pride.

Not that all these things might not possibly occur, but they are surely not likely to occur continually. It would be perfectly proper for us to give such attention, and to be so well informed, that we would be able to see quickly any unscriptural proceeding or any instance of very poor judgment that would be a hindrance to the effectiveness of the services. It would be proper, too, if ever we saw that the best interests of the class were not being served--and if, after waiting patiently for a while, we found that they were not likely to be corrected--it would be entirely proper for us, in a meek and quiet spirit, to call attention to the fault, either in the Class or to an elder, or whatever would be the most effective and least demonstrative way. "Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory," but everything for the glory of God.

And right there we need to be careful, too, lest we get into the way of thinking that everything that harmonizes with our ideas is to the glory of God, and that whatever would not harmonize with our ideas could not be pleasing to Him. Well did the Apostle write: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools." (Ephesians 5:15.) Well do we see the meaning of this word "circumspectly"-- that it signifies with close scrutiny on every hand, especially as respects thoughts, motives, intentions.

"BE NOT MANY OF YOU TEACHERS"

Well did St. James write, "Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that a man shall receive the severer trial." (James 3:1.) While, as we have pointed out, all of the Lord's people are specially susceptible along the line of spiritual pride, there seems to be a special danger surrounding all who become in any manner identified with the promulgation of His Truth.

It is a special privilege, indeed, to tell out the Message of God's grace to all who have a hearing ear. How thankful we are that it is not--as it was once supposed-- the exclusive privilege of the clergy, but that the Lord declares that all who are His consecrated people and who receive the begetting of the holy Spirit have, through it, the anointing to preach the Good Tidings to the meek and to bind up the broken-hearted! (Isaiah 61:1.) We are glad of this privilege, which includes our private conversations [R5956 : page 277] with neighbors and friends. But what a privilege to be God's ambassadors, and in His name to tell of the coming Kingdom, of the great provision God has already made through the death of Jesus, of the grand outcome, and of how the kings and priests of that Kingdom are now being called out of the world, experiencing a change of nature in preparation for their future work!

Old as the Message is, it is so new and wonderful, if rightly presented, as to awaken astonishment in the honest-hearted who hear. They wonder, how did this ordinary man (or woman) ever come to understand and be able so beautifully to portray these wonderful things? Perhaps they give a hint of their surprise. Then comes a danger-moment for taking the disease of spiritual pride. Just a little swing of the mind; and you think that it is wonderful that even you should know about such things when the great mass of mankind have not the remotest conception of them, and that even some of the ablest and most talented ministers of the Word of God are ignorant respecting these things in the Bible.

If you are taking the disease of spiritual pride you will doubtless feel a straightening of your back. You are beginning to feel more important, and to look more dignified and to feel that, after all, you are somebody great. Your voice indicates this, too; and your hearer notices it. Then he begins to feel that it is not the Word of the Lord, but that, as you seem to admit, it is something that you made up--something that you are responsible for, and he thinks less of it on that account.

The proper attitude, as all will agree, is that the Lord's people should feel greatly humbled instead of greatly exalted and heady in respect to these opportunities for telling the Truth to others. We should feel our unworthiness. We should realize that the Plan is not ours; that we have merely heard of it ourselves; that it is really God's Plan; that we are honored as His servants to tell it out. But if we allow any impression to go out that it is by any wisdom on our part, or any skill, that the beauty is seen in the Message, then to that extent we are taking glory to ourselves which belongs to the Lord, and doing injury to ourselves proportionately by failing to demonstrate our worthiness to be used by the Lord in the present and in the future. The wonderful privilege of speaking as ambassadors for the Lord, to tell of His greatness and Plan should humble us with the thought that He has privileged us, whereas He has angels, who excel in strength and whom He might have used in communicating this most wonderful Message.

SPECIAL TEST UPON ELDERS AND DEACONS

But the dear brethren chosen by the Classes to be their Elders and Deacons have a still further test to their humility. Apparently no one could occupy such a position without great danger of infection from the disease called spiritual pride. Sometimes the Lord's people seem entirely to forget the caution which St. Paul gave, saying that a novice, a beginner, one young in the Truth, no matter how bright, no matter how educated, should not be chosen to the service of Elder or Deacon because, as the Apostle remarked, he would be especially susceptible to this foe of the children of God--spiritual pride.--1 Timothy 3:6.

But not merely are the novices in danger. Everyone appointed to serve the Lord's people is thereby put into the place of great temptation, which might mean a spiritual fall and ruin in the Second Death. Perhaps the Lord's people have not been sufficiently considerate of these things as respects those whom they elect to be their servants. Perhaps those accepting these positions of service under the votes of the brethren scarcely realize what danger they do run in accepting. If they realized, doubtless that realization would make them hesitate about accepting at all; and humility would certainly lead them not to attempt to serve unless they were most explicitly appointed to the service.

But what do we find? Alas! in some a tendency to seek the eldership or deaconship. In some, even a tendency to "wire-pull" and bargain that they might be elected; in some a tendency to feel offended if they were not chosen; in some a tendency to feel angry with anybody who would vote against them in such an election. Alas! alas! if the dear brethren realized what was gnawing in their minds and urging them on to these things-- oh, what a different course they would take! In all meekness and humility they should feel a timidity even about taking a position where there would be such a responsibility. The admonition on this is that although all of the Church should, according to their knowledge of the Truth, be qualified to be teachers, nevertheless the safer place is not to be a teacher, knowing that such shall have the severer trial. Only a sense of responsibility to the Lord and to the brethren should make one willing to serve in such capacity, much as all ought to love to be the Lord's representatives in the Church.

Everything in the nature of pride, fond desire to be [R5957 : page 277] Elders or to be great, is not only dangerous to the person himself, but dangerous to the entire Class with which he is associated. The spirit is catching, just as is every disease. Strife, vain-glory, ambition, all contrary to the spirit of the Lord, soon appear. Next come anger, malice, envy, hatred, evil-speaking, evil-surmising. These, St. Paul tells us, are "works of the flesh and of the Devil." All this harm, all this spirit of the Adversary, is apt to be introduced into the class either by one or more of its Elders or Leaders, or by one or more who desire to be Elders or Leaders.

We are sorry that this is true, yet we know of a number of Classes containing many dear children of God, many of whom are otherwise exemplary, but who have gotten into this condition. Instead of the spirit of the Lord being fully in control, the evil spirit, or disposition, is frequently manifest in various ways in the meetings. The class fails to make progress, either numerically or spiritually. These are the bitter fruits of this noxious thing known as spiritual pride.

If we had but the power of language to hold it up before the readers of THE WATCH TOWER, that they might see it in its true shape and terrible color, the effect would surely be to cause an alarm in Zion! Fain would we ring the alarm bell from the "Watch Tower," for be it noted that these dear ones who are becoming thus involved are often grand characters, truly spirit-begotten children of God. Of some of them we know that in the past they ran the race splendidly. How sorry we feel to see signs that their characters are being transformed in a wrong direction! Let us heed Him who said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."--Matthew 7:16.

GUARDING AGAINST SPIRITUAL PRIDE

As already indicated, one of the serious things connected with this malady of spiritual pride is that those who have it are rarely aware of it. Another difficulty is that it is almost impossible to correct them and to cause them to know that they have the disease. If spoken to on the subject they seem to think at once that their benefactor is their enemy; that he is jealous of them; that he would like to get their position, etc. Hence the disease is nearly incurable, except as either the Class may assist or the Lord's providence may interpose.

If the Class notices the growth of such a disposition, [R5957 : page 278] it should quickly, and with love and good intention, merely fail to elect for any service to the Class the individual who seems to be getting top-heavy--spiritually proud. If this were resented, it should be considered all the more a necessity to leave the self-conscious one to cool off quietly and get his bearing--for his own good and that of the Class. Where the Class fails to help in this matter, apparently nothing remains except for the Lord to chasten the individual for his good, either with business reverses or losses or with physical disease, or in whatever way may seem best to Him. And we have confidence that the Lord will do this for everyone who is truly His child and who gets into such a condition as to need such correction in righteousness. Is it not written, "The Lord will judge [punish] His people"?--Deuteronomy 32:36.

A BIBLE ILLUSTRATION OF THIS SIN

The Bible gives many illustrations of this sin, but we choose the most conspicuous one. There was a holy man of old, beloved of the Lord, noble, self-sacrificing, a Prophet of the Lord. He served the Lord and His people faithfully--wonderfully--for forty years; but finally he was guilty of this sin of self-assurance--spiritual pride. And, strangest of all, this man is noted to us in the Bible as having been at the beginning of his career the "meekest man in all the earth."--Numbers 12:3.

Yes; it was the glorious Moses, who at the beginning of his experience as a servant of the Lord was so very meek, so very humble, but who, at the conclusion of his career, was hindered from entering the promised land as a punishment for spiritual pride or self-assurance, where he should have given the Lord the glory. We recall the circumstances: Moses, as the Lord's special servant, had led Israel out of Egypt across the Red Sea into the wilderness, en route for Canaan. He performed, by the Lord's direction, several miracles on the journey. One of them was the smiting of the rock when the people were famished for water. God directed him to smite the rock; and from that rock flowed an abundant stream of water for the refreshment of the people.

According to the Bible, that rock was a picture of Christ--the "Rock of Ages." (1 Corinthians 10:4.) It was by the Lord's arrangement that this "Rock of Ages" was smitten, that the water of life might flow from Jesus for all of Adam's race who would become Israelites indeed and come out of Egypt--out of the world--out of sin-- out of the kingdom of the Adversary into obedience and fellowship with the Lord.

Forty years after this time of the smiting of the rock, when Israel had been journeying to and fro, waiting for the time to come that they might be permitted to enter Canaan, their wandering led again into this district, so barren and devoid of water. The people cried to Moses and Moses cried to the Lord on their behalf as to what should be done. The Lord's answer was that Moses should speak to the rock which previously he had smitten, and that water would come forth. But during these forty years in which Moses had dealt with the Israelites as a father with his children, he had naturally gained a great deal of self-assurance. He could hardly pass through such experiences and still be the meekest man in all the earth.

So now, neglecting the command of the Lord, Moses went to the rock and smote it a second time with his rod, shouting to the people: "Ye rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" (Numbers 20:1-12.) Alas, poor Moses! He was taking the glory to himself instead of ascribing it all to the Lord. Soon Moses realized the great mistake he had made. It might be said to have been his only mistake, and yet the Lord on this account denied him the privilege of going into the land of Canaan, granting him instead merely the opportunity of seeing it from across the River Jordan, and burying him there.

Shall we not from this illustration esteem that spiritual pride and self-assurance are very displeasing in the sight of the Lord? Could we draw any other conclusion from this great lesson written for our admonition?

A WORD OF CONSOLATION

For the comfort of those who may feel that they have done much worse than Moses, or been much more self-assertive, been much less careful to honor the Lord, have manifested much more spiritual pride--for their comfort let us notice that the punishment here was severe because it was part of a type. As the first smiting of the rock typified the crucifixion of our Lord, so the second smiting of the rock typified the crucifying of the Son of God afresh and putting Him to an open shame; as described by St. Paul in Hebrews 6:6. As the smiting of the rock represented this public, open repudiation of Jesus and His teaching and His cause, so the preventing of Moses from crossing Jordan into Canaan typified the Second Death. We are not to think that Moses will never come into Canaan; nor that he has died the Second Death, but merely that this type was shown in his experiences.

Neither are we to think that brethren who have manifested spiritual pride and done things in their own name, rather than in the name of the Lord and the name of the Class, have thereby committed the sin unto death. We are, however, to realize that a terrible danger goes with spiritual pride, and that, persisted in, it would surely result in Second Death. Realizing this, how anxious, how zealous we should be, not only in the eradication of every symptom of it we might find in ourselves, but also in being careful lest we should take the contagion or in any manner come under its influence or have any of its symptoms!

SPIRITUAL PRIDE--PREVENTION AND CURE

We have already intimated the difficulty in connection with the treatment of this disease when once it gets hold. The chief feature of the difficulty seems to be that the disease has a destroying effect upon the conscience. The mind becomes more or less obtuse to the simple principles of the Golden Rule--not to mention the still higher law of our Lord's New Commandment to the brethren. The ignoring of the Golden Rule is manifested every time an attempt is made to coerce the Class, either in the election of its servants or in the ordering of its meetings.

The regulations of the Lord's Word are known; the residing of the authority in the Class is recognized, and when an Elder attempts to twist or turn or alter this he is not doing to the others as he would be done by. He has a right, as one of the Class, to his own opinion of the Lord's will on any matter. He has the right to express his judgment. But he has no right to hinder others from the expression of their judgment; and every such interference is a violation of the Golden Rule as well as a violation of the Law of Love and a violation of the First Commandment--to honor God; for it is setting aside the Divine arrangement provided for such matters.

But where the Elder progresses along such lines, in defiance of the Golden Rule principle, to the ruling of the Class, the coercing or cajoling of them to the doing his way, his will, the effect is the perversion of his own mind. His conscience becomes obtuse. Whoever violates his conscience repeatedly, by ignoring the principles of righting a wrong which he clearly sees, that person is undermining his conscience.

Conscience is the scale by which we weigh the various things presented to our judgment to ascertain the right [R5958 : page 279] or the wrong, the justice or the injustice, the truth or the falsity of a thing. This scale may be a very coarse one or a very fine one. It may be capable of very fine discriminations; or it may see things only in a rude, crude way. The Christian, especially if he has been long in the School of Christ, should have a very sensitive conscience; and from the Word of God he should be able to draw the weights by which he would balance all the questions of the affairs of life, and determine with almost absolute accuracy their right or their wrong--to what extent they would be pleasing or displeasing to the Lord. The impairment of that scale is the great danger in every sin, and it seems to us especially so in respect to the sin of spiritual pride. Nothing much can be done until the scale be rectified.

How important all of the Lord's people should feel it to be to keep their consciences thoroughly just; to be unwilling to take advantage of a brother, or of anybody, either in business or in an argument or in a Church election! The thought of the slightest infraction of justice on his own part should ring the loudest bells of alarm in the heart and the head of every true child of God: "Could it be that I who have enlisted in this cause of justice should be found sympathetic with injustice? Could it be that I could close my eyes to anything in my own conduct in the nature of injustice? Can it be that I am vitiating my own conscience and shall be liable to all the terrible results?"

To rectify a wrong course would therefore mean the reestablishment of the principles of justice in the hearts and the minds with a carefulness proportionate to the results involved--life or death everlasting. As justice shall begin to be reestablished in our minds, it will begin to regulate our words and acts. Gradually, then, the wrong-doer would begin to see how grossly he had violated the principle, how spiritual pride had almost destroyed his future prospects in the Kingdom. To such an one would surely come hearty repentance and thorough resolutions for the future.

THE GREAT NECESSITY FOR SELF-EXAMINATION

But how shall we safeguard ourselves against this spiritual pride, knowing as we do its insidious character and evil influence? How may we know that we are keeping ourselves in the love of God and not straying away toward spiritual pride?

Our advice is the same that we have already given in THE WATCH TOWER; viz.--that the Lord's people not only go to Him at the opening of each day and ask for Divine wisdom and supervision, and then through the day seek to live in accordance with that prayer, but additionally at the close of the day we have recommended a special self-inspection as respects the things done, the things neglected that should have been done, and the things done that should not have been done, in accordance with our vows of consecration to the Lord. If these reckonings and balancings every night with the Lord continue, and if they are done honestly, by a conscience that is not perverted, but that balances truly, we may surely expect that such, in harmony with the Lord's Word, will be keeping themselves in the love of God. They will be growing in grace, growing in knowledge, growing in love; and "the Wicked One will not touch them."

But let us not forget that while we are to exercise great leniency in viewing the words and deeds of others, ascribing only good intentions where they are professed, we are to scrutinize with all of our might our own hearts, our own intentions. We are to inquire why we did this thing or left undone the other thing; why we did this thing this way; why we spoke in such a tone, etc. Such a careful examination, weighing of thoughts, words and deeds, would be very unsatisfactory to a person who was not wishing to be in accord with the Lord. But those who have made a covenant with the Lord and are faithful to that covenant will find such a course to be a great blessing, comforting their hearts at the time, strengthening them for the future, and in connection with the Lord's providences it will be fitting and preparing them for places in the Heavenly Kingdom.



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GOD FIRST--SELF LAST

ALL of the Lord's true people, begotten of His Holy Spirit, are beautiful characters as New Creatures: As the Apostle expresses it, "Holy Brethren, partakers of the Heavenly calling." (Hebrews 3:1.) "Every one that loveth Him that begat [the Heavenly Father] must love also that which is begotten of Him." (1 John 5:1.) The fact that the Heavenly Father has anything to do with a human being and in any sense of the word recognizes him--especially if He recognizes him as a son--signifies that there is a nobility of character, an honesty of heart and a consecration of will, whether we be able to see these things in the outward conduct and words of the individual or not. We must assume that they are there--that God, who readeth the heart, sees them to be there. Having confidence in the Divine Wisdom, it is proper for all of the Lord's people to accept each other as New Creatures in Christ, to whom old things are passed away and for whom all things have become new. But, as the Apostle points out, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels"; these good hearts, these consecrated wills, have no perfect spirit bodies in which to operate yet. They can act and speak only through the poor, imperfect flesh, which is consecrated to death.

And oh, how the imperfect tongue and the imperfect body often misrepresent the real sentiments of the New Creature using them! Our stammering tongues fail to express our real sentiments, and we are misunderstood. Our poor brains, which the New Creature strives to exercise in favor of justice and love, often get sadly twisted. The justice we would do, we often misunderstand and do not; and the love which we wish to manifest, is twisted also and misunderstood by others and is unsatisfactory to ourselves. Early in our Christian experience, we may have failed to see our blunders, and frequently have done injury where we supposed we had done good. Later, as we began to see our imperfect works, imperfect words, imperfect thoughts and reasoning, and discerned how little we really accomplished of the much we would like to do, we were in danger of being thoroughly discouraged. We needed the very encouragements which the Lord's Word holds out to us--the assurance that God looketh at the heart and not at the outward appearance; and that the pure in heart will be blessed and see God, notwithstanding the weaknesses of their flesh, against which they strive courageously.

GOD FIRST IN OUR HEARTS

Many are the rules and practices which will be assistful to the New Creature while endeavoring to prove loyal and to fight down and overcome the imperfections of his flesh. A great variety of rules might be mentioned, including the study of God's Word, continual watchfulness and endeavor to cultivate the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the [R5958 : page 280] remembrance of the Golden Rule, etc., etc. But we now wish to call attention to one general rule which seems to have a broad application to all of our thoughts and words and actions. If this rule be followed, the entire life will thereby be regulated. This rule is--God first, self last!

This is a hard rule so far as the old creature is concerned, and he will rebel against it--especially the latter part--putting self last. But the old creature cannot really object to the rule so far as "God first" is concerned; for even natural men realize that there are proper obligations to the Creator; but the New Creature sees this obligation in a special light. It is this special light which led to the making of a full consecration to the Lord, to enlistment under the banner of Jesus to fight a good fight against sin entrenched in the flesh, and to faithfulness in this warfare even unto death. In making this consecration, the individual put God first, Jesus next, and himself as the servant of These and the principles which They represent; and his flesh as devoted, consecrated, given over to death in the service of these principles.

But it is one thing to recognize the principles, and quite another thing to apply them in the daily life and in the Church. God first in the home and the personal affairs means that all earthly interests and pleasures will be subordinated, and that the will of God, the service of God, the honor of God's name, will have the most prominent part in all of our affairs every day--in all of our words, in all of our dealings, in our very thoughts.

Extending this principle to the Church, which is the Body of Christ, we perceive that if all the brethren had this spirit, it would imply the very highest ideals and practices in the Church. As the Apostle admonishes, nothing would be done through strife or vain glory, but merely to the glory of God--God first! It would mean that in all the matters of our worship, praise, and Bible study, pride or fond desire and selfishness and partiality and hypocrisy would be far away; for God would be first, and we would know that all of these traits of evil entrenched in our flesh are contrary to the will of our God.

APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES

In the election of servants in the Church, the rule of "God first" would mean that each one in voting would seek to vote according as he believed to be God's will, entirely ignoring his own will and the wills of all others of the brethren. "God first" would also lead him to take an individual stand in that kind, loving manner which the Bible declares to be the Holy Spirit, or disposition of [R5959 : page 280] meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love. Surely a blessing would follow such an endeavor to put God first, and to forget everything that might be in competition with the Lord in our affection!

As for the latter part of this resolution--"self last," this would mean the very essence of the Apostle's admonition, "Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory" (Philippians 2:3); and again, "in honor preferring one another." (Romans 12:10.) We look back at the record of the Twelve Apostles, and see how they were disposed to strive amongst themselves as to which should be greatest in the Kingdom. But this striving was before their begetting of the Holy Spirit, before Pentecost. How glad we are to see that such a spirit apparently disappeared after Pentecost, amongst those who received the spirit-begetting! "Self last" might well have been the rule among the Apostles--so loyally did they support the principles of the Lord's Word and uphold and encourage one another in the good work. How we rejoice with them!

But how sad it makes us feel when some dear brethren of our day, who profess to have received the begetting of the Holy Spirit, and whose professions we do not doubt, seem not to have learned this lesson of "self last"! "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." (1 Peter 5:6.) Occasionally, we perceive some disposed to seek office as Elders or as Deacons of the Church, disposed to feel offended if they are not elected to these offices. Oh, what a pity that they cannot take the broader and better view of the matter! We do not question their hearts; we shall suppose that as long as they abide in the Truth, the Lord's Spirit is not taken from them. And yet how little growth in grace is implied where a spirit of self-seeking is manifested amongst brethren aspiring to leadership in the Ecclesia!

"WHILE PLACE WE SEEK"

Dear Brethren, let us truly humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and take whatever His providence metes out to us with full contentment. If for any reason the Class chooses us to the position of Elder or of Deacon, let us be thankful to the Class and to the Lord; and let us use our privilege as a gift, as a favor, with humility of spirit, remembering that an elder brother in the Class is a servant of the Class. Let us seek to use our opportunities and stewardship wisely, as those who must ultimately give an account. If on another occasion, the Class for any reason passes us by, failing to elect us to a service, let us remember that that is the Class' privilege-- yea, each one of the Class is in duty bound to vote according as his judgment shall be respecting the Divine will. Should we quarrel with the Divine will? Nay. Should we quarrel with the brethren for exercising their judgment respecting the Divine will? Nay. What should we do? Let us accept the Divine arrangement and be just as thankful of heart, and be just as energetic to serve in the proper ways according to our opportunities. Let us not seek to put stumbling-blocks in the way of those who have been chosen for the service, but rather do all in our power to cooperate with them.

Let the brother of high degree--that has a high position of favor in the Class--rejoice if he is debased and removed from the position. Let him rejoice to learn whatever lessons the Lord's providence may have for him. Let him rejoice to learn how to serve in another position. And let a brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted. Let us receive whatever experiences come to us as being under Divine supervision, remembering that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28.) Let us be on the alert to have God first, the interests of His cause, His people, the Church-- and our own interests and ourselves, last. We may be sure, dear Brethren, that whoever is thus found faithful, in harmony with the principles taught and exemplified by our Redeemer, will have some good place in the Redeemer's Kingdom by and by; and that all the present experiences will be overruled for his preparation for that Kingdom position.

The time for our exaltation is not now. The dear brethren may have exalted us to some service in the Class for which we were not worthy, and the possession of which might have made us heady or otherwise have injured us. The proper thought is that God is at the helm, and is able to make our experiences work out blessings to us, as individuals and as Classes. It is for us to be rightly exercised by the Lord's Word and by the Spirit of our Master, putting God first; self, last.



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JUSTIFICATION--WHAT? WHEN? HOW?

JUSTIFICATION really means only one thing, viz.: a making right, making just. Justification may be either partial or complete. In Abraham's case it was partial. He was justified to fellowship with God because of his faith and obedience, but was not justified to life, because such a complete justification could not be accomplished, except by the redemptive work of Jesus, which had not been and could not be accomplished in Abraham's day.

The justification of the Gospel Church is an instantaneous work. "It is God that justifieth." But the basis of this justification is the sacrifice accomplished by Jesus, finished at Calvary. Before the Savior will impute to us the merit of His sacrifice, we must know of Him and trust Him and accept His terms of discipleship and consecrate ourselves fully as His disciples, even unto death. The moment He imputes the merit of His sacrifice to us, covering our blemishes, we are acceptable to the Father, received into His family by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, and thus, thereafter, members of the Church of the Firstborns, whose names are written in Heaven.

The world's justification will not be an instantaneous one, but will progress during the thousand years--the Millennium. The world might then be said to be tentatively justified through the Mediator and His Kingdom, but their justification will be accomplished only in their absolute perfection at the close of the Millennium, when they will be presented to the Father and accepted by Him. "It is God that justifieth," and He receives to everlasting life and to His family on any plane of existence only those who are perfect.

CLEANSING OF FLESH NOT JUSTIFICATION

A person desiring to turn to God during this Gospel Age finds Him gradually. First, he finds that God has made a provision whereby He can be just and yet be the Justifier of sinners. Next he finds that the death of Jesus is the way which God has provided. Next he finds his own weaknesses and sins--the defilements, and properly seeks to put these away. He may and should considerably cleanse himself from the filthiness of the flesh, but this does not justify him, does not make him perfect, because by heredity he is a sinner, imperfect, and can be cleansed only by the Divine application of the merit of the Sin Offering. After washing at the Laver--putting away the filthiness of the flesh--the believer approaches close up to the door of the Tabernacle and "ties" himself there-- obligates himself by consecration vows, devoting himself fully to the Lord and His service, whatever that may be.

All the foregoing steps of the person desiring fellowship with God are proper steps, as outlined in the Word. We describe the person who has taken this course as being tentatively justified; that is to say, he is in the right course, doing what he is able to do to attain justification. While in this course, he would have blessings of mind and heart and the approval of his conscience, and would be favored of the Lord in the sense that Divine providence would open up before him a knowledge of the proper course to take for his justification--pointing out to him the necessity for the steps enumerated, including the devotion or tying of himself at the door of the Tabernacle. The sinner approaching God can do no more. It is now God's time to act. God's mercy toward the sinner is wholly through Jesus, who has been appointed the "great High Priest." It is the part of Jesus to accept the devoted one (the goat) and to sacrifice him. And those whom Jesus, as God's High Priest, accepts are accepted of the Father, and such are begotten of the Father to the Divine nature, etc. That moment when Jesus, and when Divine Justice, through Jesus, accepts the sinner is the moment of justification.

From the moment the sinner turned his back upon sin and began to seek the Lord and to walk as best he would be able in the ways of righteousness--putting away the filthiness of the flesh--from that moment this person has a new mind or will, different from the mind or will which he had when he loved and served sin. This new mind is a new mind of the flesh, because he has not yet been begotten of the Holy Spirit. At the moment that the High Priest accepts him, imputes His merit, and the Father begets him of the Holy Spirit--at that moment this one with the new mind is justified and begotten of the Spirit; he is then a New Creature. The New Creature is not to be justified, because the New Creature has done no sin and would have no sin to be justified from. It was the new-minded old creature that was justified, and at the moment of justification it dies sacrificially. The New Creature [R5960 : page 281] might be spoken of as justified in the same sense that Jesus was spoken of--"justified in spirit,...received up into glory." (1 Tim. 3:16.) In this use of the word justified, the thought is "proved right"--"proved perfect"; not made right.

PEACE PROPORTIONATE TO PROGRESS

To this class, fully consecrated, justified, accepted of the Father by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle's words apply: "Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1.) But this Scripture would not apply to any who have not come to the point of consecration and acceptance and who are merely approaching through the Court. These do, however, have a measure of peace, in proportion as they progress. A certain measure of peace and joy comes from finding that there is a way back to God through the endeavor to put away sin and to draw near to Him; but the peace of the Church, mentioned by the Apostle in this text, can apply only to those who have come into the condition of Sons of God. God is not at peace with any others.

It would not be possible for any one during this Gospel Age to have exactly the same experience given to Abraham, because of the difference of conditions. Abraham fully believed God, and so far as he understood, apparently was fully consecrated to do God's will, even unto death. In other words, if Abraham had been living during this Gospel Age, he would have been one of the fully consecrated, fully justified, spirit-begotten ones; but living before the Gospel Age, before Christ had died for our sins, his consecration could not bring him into the fulness of justification and its privileges.

Some confuse themselves by thinking of justification as of two parts--legal and actual. We know of nothing in the Bible to make any such division of justification. It is legal and it is actual at the same instant. It could not be actual and illegal; it could not be illegal and yet actual.

Our justification, represented by the "Wedding Garment," put on when we are accepted of the Lord, covers not the New Creature, but merely the flesh, which is legally reckoned dead, sacrificially. In other words, justification does not signify a process of being made right, but a right condition already attained. The putting on of the "Wedding Garment," signifies our entrance into the family of God as members of the Church; the putting of it off would mean our rejection of the grace of God, and would imply Second Death.

Justification to the world, as already explained, will be attained differently. It might be said that the world's [R5960 : page 282] justification, under the Great Mediator, will be a gradual one--a gradual making right as each individual will come into harmony more and more with the Divine requirements and receive more and more of restitution perfection. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that "It is God that justifies," and that the world will not be in God's hands until the conclusion of the Millennial Age. Then all approved of the Father and accepted of Him to eternal life will be justified in the full sense. That will be an instantaneous act.



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THE APPEAL TO CAESAR
--OCTOBER 15.--ACTS 25:1-12.--

FESTUS THE NEW ROMAN GOVERNOR OF JUDEA--ST. PAUL'S ENEMIES ON THE ALERT TO INJURE HIM--A NEW PLOT AGAINST THE APOSTLE'S LIFE--ST. PAUL UNWILLING TO ACCEPT A DISCHARGE RESPECTING THE ROMAN COURT AND TO STAND TRIAL BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN--HIS APPEAL TO CAESAR'S COURT--FESTUS PUZZLED AS TO WHAT CHARGE HE COULD FORMULATE--ST. PAUL CALLED TO GIVE HIS VERSION OF HIS PEOPLE'S ENMITY AGAINST HIM.
"It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Teacher, and the servant as his Lord."--Matthew 10:25. R.V.
FELIX, the Roman governor of Judea, was succeeded by Festus; and, willing to carry favor with the Jews, he left St. Paul a prisoner, although confessedly he had found the Apostle not guilty of any infraction of the Roman law and was persuaded that his enemies were frantically jealous of him. The two years of St. Paul's imprisonment doubtless afforded excellent opportunities for his mature study of the Divine Plan set forth in the Scriptures.

It is impossible for us at this distance even to surmise with any accuracy what may have been the Lord's object in permitting His faithful representative to be thus isolated and debarred from the privileges of service. On the one hand, it may have been to give the Apostle rest, quiet, opportunity for further study of the Truth. On the other hand, it may have been to teach him a lesson of patience, submission and confidence in God--that his services were not indispensable; that while the Lord had not let go of him and would ultimately deliver him, yet he was not indispensable to the Divine Plan. These are important lessons for all of God's people to learn-- particularly all who are in any prominent way identified with His service.

Or it may have been that the Lord had a work for the Apostle to do at Caesarea, where possibly he had contact with the officers of the garrison, and where they would have opportunities for observing the man and for appreciating the power of God to uphold him in his adversities. We may be sure that the Apostle let his light shine on every proper occasion; and we may be sure also that his labor was "not in vain in the Lord," whatever it was and however it was accepted or made useful in the interests of others. Even if he had no opportunity for serving others and if the work of grace were accomplished in his own heart, it was not in vain; and faith commands us to accept the matter without doubt respecting the wisdom of the arrangement.

ST. PAUL'S CASE BROUGHT TO FESTUS

Festus, the new governor, went at once to Jerusalem, the center of his province, there to become acquainted with the chief men of the people amongst whom he must preside as governor and judge. He was of a totally different character from his predecessor. St. Paul styles him "noble Festus," and history confirms the appellation.

St. Paul's enemies were on the alert to accomplish against him through the new governor what they had failed to do with Felix. Taking advantage of the fact that a new official would naturally desire to make a favorable impression in respect to prompt dealings with prisoners charged with sedition, rioting, disloyalty, the Jewish rulers quickly brought St. Paul's case to the attention of Festus. However, after setting forth the arguments of Tertullus to prejudice the governor's mind, they feared to have a trial before him because of the weakness of their cause; for they had no witnesses to any wrong-doing on the Apostle's part which could be recognized as against Roman law or the privileges of a Roman citizen.

Apparently their explanation was that the Apostle's conduct had been an assault upon their religion, along lines which the Roman governor, unacquainted with their religious customs, would not be prepared to appreciate. Hence they proposed to Festus that, after all, their dispute with St. Paul was more along religious than civil lines, and that therefore the desirable thing would be that the prisoner should be delivered to the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem for trial according to Jewish Law. Meantime, plans had been matured whereby in the name of God and religion, and "the good of the cause," the Apostle was to be assassinated on the way to Jerusalem.

Alas, that such criminal injustice cannot be charged against the Jews of that Age alone; but in every Age, and in almost every religious system, the mental unbalance is such that in the heat of the moment atrocious crimes have been advocated and perpetrated in the name of God and holiness! What lessons we may learn from these excerpts of history! When will mankind learn that as Justice is the foundation of the Divine Government (Psalm 97:2), everything contrary thereto must be displeasing to God? When shall we learn that the results of injustice will ultimately be more injurious to the doer than to the injured?

ST. PAUL APPEALS TO CAESAR

Governor Festus acknowledged his ignorance of the religion of the Jews, and made no objection to the trial of the prisoner by the religious court of his countrymen. On his return to Caesarea, he placed the proposition of the Jews before St. Paul, asking him--because the Apostle was a Roman citizen--whether he was willing to accept a discharge as respected the Roman Court and to stand trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin.

The Apostle promptly replied that he would not consent to this; that as a Roman citizen he had a right to Roman privileges, and therefore appealed his case to Caesar's court at Rome, the imperial capital. He well knew the animosity of his countrymen, and realized that those who were ready to assassinate him two years before were probably still unchanged in heart.

St. Paul's course furnishes a good example for all of the Lord's people in similar circumstances. It is a mistake, made by some well-meaning members of the Lord's family, to suppose that the Master's teaching of non-resistance signifies that His followers should put forth no efforts on their own behalf. It is our privilege to avail ourselves of every right granted to us by the laws of the country in which we live. It is proper for page 283 us to appeal to higher or better courts if we can, to obtain that justice which might not be obtainable in lower courts. But having exhausted all such legal resources and remedies, the Lord's people are to be submissive to the results--not grumblers, not resisters of the decisions of the law.

Another matter worthy of notice is that, so far as the records show, the Apostle did not berate nor calumniate his people or the Sanhedrin or others associated as his prosecutors and persecutors. The lesson for the Lord's people today is to speak evil of no man. Take advantage of every legal right and privilege and opportunity, and accept the final results as of God.

KING AGRIPPA ASKED TO ASSIST FESTUS

Festus was placed in a peculiar position. In sending the Apostle to Rome, as he was obliged to do in the case of appeal of a Roman citizen, he must of necessity send some charges; and being a just man, he desired that the charges should be truthfully stated. Therefore he was puzzled to know what charges, if any, he could formulate against the Apostle.

Shortly after this, the ceremonies of the inauguration of Festus took place in Caesarea. King Agrippa of Galilee did his respects by attending. Although an Edomite, the king professed the Hebrew faith; and Festus, who had no knowledge thereof, embraced the opportunity to have assistance in formulating charges against St. Paul, whose crime, if any, could be understood only from the Jewish standpoint, hence the Apostle was called to give, before the king, the chief captains of the military forces and the prominent citizens, his version of the enmity of his people against him.



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ST. PAUL'S DEFENSE BEFORE KING AGRIPPA
--OCTOBER 22.--ACTS 26:1, 24-32.--

PREACHING CHRIST TO THE RULERS--ST. PAUL GIVES A STIRRING ADDRESS ON HIS OWN EXPERIENCES--THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE GOSPEL EMPHASIZED--THE HOPE OF ISRAEL--THE SELECTION OF ABRAHAM'S SPIRITUAL SEED --THE LONG-PROMISED MESSIANIC KINGDOM--ISRAEL TO BE FIRST BLESSED--THEN ALL MANKIND--KING AGRIPPA DEEPLY IMPRESSED--ST. PAUL, THE PRISONER, HAPPIER THAN ANY WHO HEARD HIM.

"I was not disobedient unto the Heavenly vision."--Acts 26:19.
OUR last Study showed us that St. Paul's appeal to Caesar's Court afforded the Apostle an opportunity of preaching the Gospel before people of prominence whom he could otherwise never have expected to reach. He seems to have appreciated the occasion thoroughly; for he made a stirring address, the theme of which was the circumstances of his own conversion, narrated here for the third time. We cannot doubt that he was guided of the Lord in the matter. Thus does God mysteriously work the counsel of His own will and cause the wrath of men to praise Him; and thus does He put before His faithful servants fresh opportunities to serve His cause. How much every faithful follower of Jesus should be encouraged by this to continued faithfulness, to singleness of heart, to the improvement of every opportunity, realizing the Lord's supervision of His work!

As a true gentleman, St. Paul opened his speech by complimenting King Agrippa, as much as he truthfully could, on the fact that he would be heard by one who was expert in all Jewish matters. He pointed to the fact that his course of life from youth was well known in Jerusalem and throughout the Jewish nation. If his countrymen would, many of them could witness to his strictness as a religionist. "And now," he declared, "I am standing on trial for my hope in the promise which God made unto our fathers--a promise which all Jews are hoping will have fulfilment. Nevertheless it is for this hope's sake that I am accused by the Jews."

THE HOPE OF ISRAEL

The hope of Israel centered in God's Oath-Bound Covenant to Abraham: "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:3; 22:15-18.) St. Paul was preaching that this Promise was in process of fulfilment; that Jesus of Nazareth, as the Son of God, by obedience to the Law and by His sacrifice of His earthly rights, had become the Head of this promised Seed of Abraham by His resurrection to the plane of spirit glory, honor and immortality. Moreover, the Apostle was teaching that since Pentecost the Lord was selecting from both Jews and Gentiles a "little flock," to be Messiah's Bride and Joint-heir, members of the Spiritual Seed of Abraham; and that when this selection shall have been accomplished, The Messiah, Head and Body, in glory will set up the long-promised Kingdom of God, through which blessings will come first to Natural Israel for their restitutional uplift, and subsequently will extend through Israel to all the families of the earth.--Galatians 3:8, 16, 29; Romans 11:7-15.

Surely St. Paul pointed to the prophecies which tell of the sufferings of Messiah and of the glories that will follow! All the Jews knew of the sufferings of Jesus and His followers; but they disputed His resurrection to glory and the hope that His followers would by and by share His resurrection change. The whole dispute between himself and the Jews was in respect to whether or not Jesus arose from the dead. If He did not arise, the Jews were right. No valid hopes could be built upon a dead man, however good he might have been. If He arose, St. Paul and the followers of Jesus were right; for his resurrection to glory should be considered a demonstration of Divine approval and of the Messiahship which He had claimed and of His Kingdom to come at the time appointed.

St. Paul explained how once he also had opposed Jesus and had persecuted His followers, shutting them up in prison and giving his vote with others for their death. He had even compelled them to blaspheme Jesus to escape sufferings; and in his madness he had extended his energies from Jerusalem to outside cities. He described the revelation of the Lord given him near Damascus--the light above the brightness of the sun, and the voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?...I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest."

Then he explained the commission he had received from the Lord on that occasion--that he was to preach to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews, the resurrection of Jesus, the gathering of His elect members and, in due time, the establishment of His Kingdom; and that he was to declare that all should repent and turn to God. It was for these things that he was in bondage and his life in jeopardy, until he was obliged to appeal to Caesar's tribunal. He pointed out that the sufferings of Christ had been foretold by the Prophets; and that Jesus acknowledged persecution of His followers as being persecution of Himself--His members. page 284

"THOU ART BESIDE THYSELF!"

Governor Festus heard with amazement the Apostle's recital. Then, interrupting the speaker, he said, "Thou are beside thyself! Much learning doth make thee mad." But St. Paul replied, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. King Agrippa knoweth of these things."

Thus it is still. From the worldly standpoint the true follower of our Lord Jesus is branded a fanatic, a fool, unbalanced. But from the Christian's standpoint the view is reversed--the worldly are unwise and money-mad. The worldly see merely the earthly things, the transitory. The Christian sees with the eye of faith-- sees glory, honor, immortality and a share with the Redeemer in the privileges of the Millennial Kingdom, which is shortly to bless the world with a Reign of Righteousness, in fulfilment of the Lord's prayer, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as in Heaven."

St. Paul appealed to Agrippa: Did the king not believe the prophecies cited? The king's reply is a matter of dispute--whether he said, "With a little more time and eloquence you might persuade me to be a Christian"; or whether he said, "Do you think that in so brief an argument you could make of me a Christian, with all of discredit which that word means?" St. Paul's reply favors the former interpretation: "I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds."

A nobler sentiment, a broader spirit of charity, in a prison, falsely accused and unjustly restrained, cannot be imagined. Only those who have been with Jesus and have learned of Him could thus exemplify the sympathy and moderation which He taught. Oh, that all of Christ's disciples might learn also to be meek and lowly of heart, and thus find rest for their souls! For who can doubt that St. Paul, the prisoner, with his glorious hopes, was happier every way than were any of those who heard him?

MANY WILL BE AMAZED AT OPPORTUNITIES NEGLECTED

The time will come, and it is not far distant now, when many who now are highly esteemed amongst men for their wisdom, will be seen to have been foolish; and many who are now esteemed fools for Christ's sake and for the Gospel's sake will be seen to have been truly wise in choosing the Heavenly things and in being willing to surrender the earthly for the attainment of the Heavenly, because it is impossible to serve God and Mammon.

It is presumed upon reasonable grounds that, although King Agrippa did not become a Christian, this knowledge of the principles underlying Christianity remained with him and influenced him during the remainder of his life. History tells us that in the subsequent persecutions that arose in connection with the trouble coming upon the Jewish nation King Agrippa received and kindly entreated the Christians who fled to him for protection.

How many there are in Christian lands who have heard the Gospel Message more or less distinctly and have been "almost persuaded" to lay hold of the grace of God, but who neglect opportunities of action and have lost their appreciation of the privilege! These, like King Agrippa, will have comparatively small conception of the wonderful things which they came so near grasping and yet missed. When they shall come forth from the grave and enjoy the great privileges of the Millennial Kingdom, it will amaze them to know what great opportunities they had to become members of the Little Flock, the Lord's associates on the Throne.



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THE VOYAGE TO ROME
--OCTOBER 29.--ACTS 27:13-26.--

ST. PAUL SENT TO THE IMPERIAL CAPITAL--A STORMY VOYAGE-- DAYS OF TRIAL AND TESTING--THE APOSTLE ENCOURAGED BY A VISION--"GOD MOVES IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY"--THE SAILORS CHEERED BY THE HELPFUL SPIRIT OF THE APOSTLE--LESSONS FROM HIS EXPERIENCES.
"Commit thy way unto Jehovah; trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass."--Psalm 37:5.
NOT LONG after St. Paul's discourse before Festus and King Agrippa, opportunity was afforded for sending the Apostle and other prisoners to Rome under a strong guard. There were no derogatory charges preferred against St. Paul, however. There was no direct intercourse between Rome and the little port of Caesarea; hence for a distance of six hundred miles the journey was made in a small trading vessel.

This journey lasted from about the middle of August to September 1--good speed for a sailing vessel in those days; but the weather was fine. At Myra, St. Paul and two of the brethren who accompanied him--St. Luke and Aristarchus--were transferred, along with the other prisoners and the guard, to an Egyptian vessel laden with a cargo of wheat and en route for Rome. Besides the crew, this vessel bore a considerable number of passengers-- in all, two hundred and seventy-six persons.

For several days the pleasant weather continued, and then it became stormy. The vessel abandoned her intended route in order to get under the lee of the island of Crete, and tarried at the port of Fair Havens for better weather. Thus they were delayed until about October 1, the time for equinoctial storms. St. Paul drew attention to the dangers of continuing the journey, and advised that they winter there. His opinion may have been the result of some inspiration, but quite possibly was merely his own judgment of the weather, etc. He had already had large experience in seeing disasters, as we are informed in one of his Epistles written previous to this time. (2 Corinthians 11:25.) Besides, his trade as a sail-maker would naturally bring him into contact with sailors, and interest him in all matters pertaining to the craft.

But those in authority concluded to go to Phenice, a larger port. Before they had gone far, however, a typhonic northeast wind struck the vessel suddenly; and they were obliged to go with the wind southward and came under the shelter of the little island called Clauda. Here they undergirded the ship by placing chains and ropes under her keel, because the weight of the cargo and the severity of the storm had strained her. Then they lowered the gearing of the sails and continued to drive before the wind, guarding against sand banks. The ship labored heavily in the storm. Part of her cargo was thrown overboard; and later she was further lightened by casting overboard her heavier furniture, tackle, etc.

DAYS OF TRIAL AND DANGER

The storm continued for several days. Neither sun nor stars were visible; and the captain could not tell his whereabouts; for the compass had not yet been invented. Hence all on board were gradually abandoning all hope. They had ceased to eat, and were almost in despair.

During those fourteen days the Apostle had abundant opportunity to fear, to doubt and to question the Lord's page 285 providences. Apparently it was not until the night of the thirteenth day of the storm that the Lord sent an angel to St. Paul with the consoling message, "Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar; and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee." (Verse 24.) We may safely assume that during those days of testing the Apostle remained heartily loyal in faith toward God, and that this Message at the close was in the nature of an encouragement and an expression of approval.

We may draw a good lesson from this incident, not only in respect to our own affairs in life, but in a general way to all spiritual testings and trials. The Lord may lead in mysterious ways regarding our temporal matters and our service for Him and His Cause. While He gives us assurances of His love and care and of the ultimate outcome of the narrow way to all who faithfully follow in the footsteps of Jesus, nevertheless He may meantime permit trials and difficulties of various kinds to come as storms upon us, threatening our very destruction, threatening the overwhelming of our spiritual life, darkening the sky of our hopes with the thunder-clouds of our enemies' threats and with Satan's roarings. Our duty is to let the eye of faith be undimmed by these various terrible conditions--to let our hearts be firmly fixed upon Him who has promised and who will perform.

THOUGHTS BY THE WAY

The expression, "God hath given thee all them that sail with thee," is very meaningful. There is no suggestion in these words of "the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men," as that false teaching is now advocated by many who are actuated by a noble impulse. On the contrary, the thought is that there was only one man on board that ship who was in personal relationship to God. The others, whatever their natural traits of character, had never come into relationship with God.

There is another thought which may be inferred from the angel's words: The Divine care going with the saints may prove to be a great blessing to their companions, even though, as in this case, these be worldly and unregenerate. This thought is particularly applicable in the earthly families of the people of God. The consecrated parent is the direct object of Divine care; for of the angels it is written, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14.) And in the angelic ministrations to these, very frequently--indeed, we may suppose very generally--those of their families who have not come into full relationship with the Lord are to some extent included under the protecting care.

Elsewhere the Apostle points out that in some respects the believing wife has a blessed influence over her husband, or the believing husband a favorable influence over the wife, in regard to their children; else the children would be accounted unholy. (1 Corinthians 7:14.) This is another illustration of the same general lesson that Divine care, although especially for the saints, includes all of their interests of every kind. This does not necessarily imply earthly prosperity, wealth, preservation from accident, shipwreck, etc., as in St. Paul's case; and yet it always means an advantage in some sense and in some degree. Let us take from this thought all the comfort that we can. All things shall work together for good to the Lord's saints (Romans 8:28); and those who are nearest and dearest to them will surely be participants to some extent in their interest and in the Divine care.

ST. PAUL'S MESSAGE OF CHEER

Promptly after having received the assurances of the safety of all on board, the Apostle made the matter known to the ship's company. Then he manifested his own faith in the message by cheerfulness and by breaking his fast, and by advising all the others to do likewise. His spirit was contagious. All were cheered; and doubtless all were impressed not only by the fact to which the Apostle called their attention--that this disaster had resulted from their failure to follow his advice-- but also by the evidence of God's special favor toward him respecting the knowledge of their ultimate rescue.

So should it be with the Lord's people. Whatever we know that is good or comforting or refreshing to ourselves we should dispense to others. Had the Apostle kept the good news to himself, it would have implied either that he did not have faith in its fulfilment, or that he was selfish. But having the Lord's spirit of generosity, as well as large trust in the Lord, he did not hesitate to make known the coming deliverance; and he glorified God in that he did not claim to have this knowledge of himself, but credited it to a revelation.

Evidently the prisoner had produced a deep impression upon many of the soldiers and the sailors. Who can say that at some future time the Apostle's brave, noble conduct may have influenced some of his two hundred and seventy-six companions--possibly eventually drawing some of them to the Lord? So it should be with each of us. We should be prompt to tell to others the best tidings we have. Sympathy with the groaning creation in the various trials of life should lead us to point to the Lord's promises respecting the coming Kingdom of Messiah and the blessings which shall then come to all the families of the earth. Whoever does not thus proclaim daily, on every suitable opportunity, gives evidence either of lack of knowledge or faith in the revelation or else of selfishness, which the Lord cannot approve and which, if persisted in, will ultimately debar him from a share in the Kingdom.



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NIAGARA AND NASHVILLE CONVENTIONS

THE Niagara Falls Convention was the most successful one of the year thus far--in respect to numbers in attendance. At the opening about seven hundred Bible students gathered and by Sunday the number had increased to fifteen hundred. A very cheap excursion rate granted on several of the railroads no doubt contributed greatly to these results.

Spiritually we cannot say that it was better than others, for it would be difficult to imagine seasons of greater spiritual refreshment than were enjoyed at St. Louis, Mo.; Sioux City, Iowa; Newport, R.I.; Norfolk, Va., and Portland, Me. We can say, however, that the dear friends who were present at Niagara Falls manifested a beautiful spirit, and so far as we could judge from what we could see this Convention was rich in spiritual encouragement and refreshment to each one present.

The Sunday afternoon meeting had a capacity house, one-half of the number being Bible students, the others being from the public. The Bible students, who would have filled the house to its capacity, gave way to the public. The interest was splendid in every way, and the Convention will long be remembered. Seventy-five symbolized their baptism into Christ by water immersion. The influence of this Convention will be far-reaching.

The Nashville, Tennessee, Convention was a most delightful one, but disappointingly small as respects attendance. [R5960 : page 286] Some may have feared the heat; but Providence favored us with most delightful weather--considerably cooler than that experienced at Niagara Falls. The attendance would not be estimated above three hundred. They were all very happy and seemed to greatly enjoy the presentation of the Truth to which they listened. Twenty-one were immersed in water.

The meeting for the public was addressed by Brother Russell, and had an attendance of two thousand; considerable interest was manifested.

Nashville gave the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION a very hearty welcome, the average attendance at all meetings being about twenty-five hundred. Eight hundred cards were handed in requesting reading matter.



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INTERESTING LETTERS

HOW THE LORD HAS STRENGTHENED HIS HEART

MY DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--

With just a little regret, I will ask for a moment of your valuable time. I noticed in the first article of THE WATCH TOWER of July 15, 1915, you make mention of the MORNING RESOLVE, the VOW and the suggestion you had to make recently about Love.

I wish to tell you briefly of the great amount of good these have all been to me. My first waking thoughts are, to repeat the MORNING RESOLVE. This is my Watchword during the day. The VOW: I never could have kept up my spiritual existence without it, especially during the time I have been engaged in the Colporteur work.

The consideration of the MANNA text each day has also been of inestimable value. And the suggestion on Love: I do not wish to say that I was proceeding ahead of the light, but I have been including this same thought each day in my prayer for the last two years; I now report each evening at the Throne of Grace; and as to the noticed results, I wish to say that I have increased love for the Father and the Son, for all the dear brethren, and for all the world of mankind. I have more love, more kindness, more gentleness toward all the animal creation; even so much that it has made me careful for the little insects that go before me on the ground.

I feel quite sure that if all the friends would include this request in their morning prayer they would notice decided development of that one grace--Love. I am striving by the Lord's grace each day to make use of about all the opportunities that come in my way. I am waiting on the Lord, and am of good courage, for He has strengthened my heart. [R5961 : page 286]

Dear Brother, just a little question, if you will grant an answer to it--to me it means so much. Concerning our Lord's last hours in Gethsemane: He desired some evidence from the Father that His Covenant of Sacrifice had been carried out faithfully. In like manner, what is the best evidence we can have that our Heavenly interests are all right?

I pray the Lord's richest blessing upon your every step of the way; also upon your every effort to assist and encourage the entire Household of Faith, as we near the closing scenes of the Harvest. Sister Kellar and my family all join with me in sending you very much Christian love. I remain

Your Brother and fellow servant in the one hope,
EBER A. KELLAR.

ANSWER TO ABOVE LETTER

Our Lord's case was peculiar. No one had ever trodden the pathway before--He was the first, the Forerunner, on the path of Life. If He had erred in any particular, He had no Advocate to make good for Him. The issue before Him was a resurrection to eternal glory on the Divine plane-- glory, honor and immortality--or everlasting destruction as one who had failed to keep the Divine Law, and for whose recovery from sin no provision had been made. It seems, therefore, not unreasonable that our Lord might ask of the Father an evidence of His acceptability.

In our case it would be a little different. We know that we are imperfect and that we cannot do all that we would-- for we will to do perfectly. In our case we know the provision of the Father had already been made--namely, that if our hearts are loyal He will take care of the remainder, making good for our short-comings, through the merit of Jesus. We are to accept this statement fully, heartily, faithfully. I believe that it would not be pleasing to the Lord if we should ask for some special manifestation of His favor over and above what He has done for us, and also the promises that are ours. If it were possible to imagine that similar circumstances could arise with us to those experienced by our Lord, we might be sure that the Heavenly Father would be pleased to have us call upon Him in the hour of trouble, and that He would be pleased similarly to respond.


THE CENSER--THE FIRE--THE INCENSE

PASTOR C.T. RUSSELL. DEAR BROTHER:--

Greetings and love in our Lord and Head! Whilst recently moving amongst the friends of various classes, I found that the question as to whether the incense was burned in the Most Holy on the typical day of atonement, was the cause of some friction and differences of opinion. Some had even gone to the length of hinting that TABERNACLE SHADOWS required to be rewritten and amended.

For my own part the question has never seemed to me worth any serious consideration, as from a merely surface glance this new view seems to be entirely out of harmony with the various antitypical features of The Divine Plan as we now understand them. Believing, however, that it is now more necessary than at any time in the past to be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us, I made careful inquiries on the point and find that the whole theory rests mainly on two texts of Scripture--Leviticus 16:12 and Hebrews 9:3, 4.

Turning up the DIAGLOTT at the latter text I find a footnote there which satisfactorily explains the evident contradiction here between the Old and New Testament records of the A.V. on this point. The real difficulty then lies with Leviticus 16:12.

Apparently from the reading of this verse, the Censer, full of burning coals of fire, as well as the Incense, were both taken by the Priest beyond the second veil. There is no doubt that from a comparison of Scripture, the veil referred to here is the one between the Holy and the Most Holy. On closer examination, however, I find that the apparent contradiction of this verse rests entirely upon a poor translation of one word. The word "bring" in this verse is from the Hebrew word "bow," which, according to Profs. Young and Strong, literally means "to cause to come in" or "to send." The action implied in this word does not refer to the censer or the fire, but only to the incense. This is admitted even by the singular number of the pronoun supplied by the translators of the A.V.

How then does the Priest cause the incense to come within the veil? Analyzing verse 12 it would mean something like the following: "He shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar (in the court) before the Lord" (and place it in the top of the incense altar in the Holy); then "he shall take his hands full of sweet incense beaten small and bring (cause it to enter) within the veil." The Priest standing at the incense altar in the Holy and crumbling the incense on the fire in the top of the altar would cause the sweet perfume of the incense to enter the presence of Jehovah beyond the veil.--Revelation 8:3, 4.

Apparently two things were necessary in order to save the Priest's life when he entered beyond the veil. First the incense must have preceded him, as indicated in Leviticus 16:2. Second he must have had the blood with him, or otherwise death would have been the result.--Hebrews 9:7.

The incense, representing the antitypical Priest's faithfulness in the midst of His earthly trials, must have been acceptable to God even before He passed beyond the veil of His human nature--the flesh. Additionally the blood (earthly life rights) must still be unforfeited in any way, as otherwise he would not have risen beyond the veil in resurrection life and therefore could not have benefited the human race.--Heb. 9:7.

Your ever-grateful brother in His service,
W. CRAWFORD.--Eng.


A PREACHER WHO SEES LIGHT

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

Greetings in the name of our Redeemer. Appreciating the fact that we are living in the close of the "Harvest," and that privileges of service are very precious to us all, we would use this opportunity to call to your attention briefly a notable witness for the Truth in one of the churches of this city.

For some time past you have doubtless noticed news clippings, sermons of Rev. ----, of the ---- Church, Los Angeles, in which his presentation was in harmony with the truths as presented in the SCRIPTURE STUDIES. Indeed, there was a reason for this. A year ago this man, evidently a conscientious Christian, was falling into and preaching Higher Criticism, though honestly. With this was mixed Socialism [R5961 : page 287] and thoughts on Restitution; the latter, he had evidently gained by reading your sermons. Attracted by this, a certain lame Brother here, full of zeal, looking for ways to serve the Master, was used of the Lord in bringing the Volumes to his attention. These he commenced to read and believe, but could not accommodate the thoughts of a Ransom. Patiently the brother stayed with him until finally, grasping the thought that "there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a Ransom for all," he began to preach it, repudiating all former no-ransom theories. This led him to a further study and assimilation of the Volumes. He realized that we are living in the closing hours of the Gospel Age, and that this being the Truth, he must preach it.

Gradually leading his congregation along, they voted at his suggestion to have the DRAMA exhibited in their Church on Wednesday evenings. Greatly appreciating this opportunity of service, we gladly gave them the DRAMA, advertising it and filling their church to overflowing at each exhibition. General appreciation was expressed, and Brother ---- himself was greatly encouraged, especially through his fellowship with the friends, whom he evidently recognized as Christians in deed and in truth. After this he was invited to hear Judge Rutherford at a small gathering of the friends, the subject being along the lines of the Ransom. This he greatly appreciated, and in the testimony meeting told us how he "got the Truth," of his love for it, and how he appreciated the opportunities and privileges that he now has in declaring it. This he proved on the following Sunday, by speaking on the Atonement, using the Tabernacle Chart which we had provided to illustrate, driving home the vital points of Truth --the death penalty against man, the opportunity for all to be released from that penalty by the fact that the Lord Jesus, dying as a man, a perfect man, offset the penalty against Father Adam and his race. The Spirit of the Truth had so gotten into his heart and mind that the short time allotted to his sermon was not half long enough to speak forth the Words of Life.

This Brother's zeal, and evidences of a full heart-consecration to God, have surely inspired us. To see him standing up before his congregation, speaking forth the Words of Truth and Life, so earnestly and sincerely, would gladden the heart of any child of God who realizes that we are in the "Harvest" of this Gospel Age.

The interest shown at the DRAMA exhibition was very good, attendance being from three to four hundred at each Part. Over a hundred cards were turned in, requesting the "Where Are the Dead" Booklet. The interest thus stirred up is to be followed up.

Hoping this will prove as interesting to you at it has to us, and praying the Lord's blessing upon you and the dear colaborers at Brooklyn in the completion of His Harvest work, We are

Your Brethren in the Lord,
DRAMA WORKERS.


MANNA, VOW AND MORNING RESOLVE BLESSINGS

DEARLY BELOVED PASTOR:--

I have been so blessed by your ministrations of love and good cheer that I would like to express my gratitude to you and to our Heavenly Father for the riches of grace which we [R5962 : page 287] enjoy. I receive such a blessing daily with the MORNING MANNA, THE VOW, and THE MORNING RESOLVE! Also, "ARE YE ABLE TO DRINK OF MY CUP?" Oh, the blessed Truth! It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do. And, dear Pastor, THE WATCH TOWER is such a wonderful channel of blessing, too! We praise God on your behalf as we see how He has kept you all these years; it gives us courage. The feast is now spread surely in the midst of our enemies! The Lord grant we may be enlarged daily and thus have the spiritual capacity for the SEVENTH VOLUME of which you also spoke.

Our dear Pastor, I would just make one request of you, if I may. It is that you would pray for me; that, having run well thus far, I might continue faithful even unto death. Three months ago I had two operations in one. After seven weeks I came home to take up my family obligations once again--except sweeping, washing, and ironing. It taxed my strength so much that I thought it only right as a New Creature in Christ to speak to my husband. I told him how I felt. He could not understand, neither could his mother, how it was that I did not feel able to do the work. Well, this proved quite a trial to me. But as no deliverance came from these duties, I considered it my duty, and evidently God's will also, that I go on and serve just as long as God gave me strength. I feel that my strength is going, though I have not told my husband, as he speaks to me only when he must, since the experience mentioned.

The pressure I feel has been hard upon me for the last five or six months, but I have been able to rejoice. Though the cup has overflowed with sorrow and suffering, nevertheless I have been able to realize the Lord's presence very near and the truth of Jesus' words, "The Father Himself loveth you." But even so as our Lord, I would continue to pray with strong crying and tears, realizing so much my utter helplessness and need of God's help through Christ Jesus. I ask you to pray for me, that I may in due time have the full assurance, as those who have gone before, that I am acceptable in the Beloved One, and have made my calling and election sure. I feel that I have need of patience also, that having done the will of God I might receive the promise.

Now again I would thank God for the blessed tie that unites us all in Him. My prayer is that we may be enlarged and abound yet more and more in the love of God. This love has increased in me as daily I have prayed with you all that thus we might be able to show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

May the Lord bless thee and keep thee, and grant thee the "abundant entrance" through Christ Jesus our Lord!

Your Sister in Christ,
----


LIKE SAUL, THOUGHT HE DID GOD SERVICE

DEAR BROTHER:--

Am happy to say that I am most surely a believer and an earnest one in "The Divine Plan of the Ages," and just as set forth by Brother Russell. More than that, I have been preaching it in no uncertain manner from the pulpit of the First Baptist Church of this place. And as might be expected I have also been ordered to stop such preaching or resign; consequently I have resigned. But then, of course, there are other places to preach, and preach it I will!

Yes, I recall the circumstances to which you refer, at the time of the revival meeting in my church, at the time the PHOTO-DRAMA was shown here, and I recall the matter only with shame and humiliation for the part I played in it. While I made no speech at the band-stand that afternoon, I did help to arrange the meeting with the object of keeping people from seeing the DRAMA. The Evangelist and the Methodist pastor of this place did the speaking, but I approved of it at the time. That humiliating experience serves to show what an absurd and enormous blunder a man makes when he jumps at conclusions and forms an opinion without investigation, just because "everyone says so." However, like Saul, I verily thought I did God a service, and being honest and sincere, though ignorant, like him, I obtained mercy, and have been shown a "more excellent way."

I am already beginning to feel the edge of the people's opposition, and, as you say, from those who were formerly my strongest supporters. However, "'Tis always with the righteous well," and I trust that I have the imputed righteousness of my Master, and that through His grace and help I shall be able to exemplify that righteousness in my life.

I have a full set of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, am getting THE WATCH TOWER and also the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY. No, I have not a copy of Brother Rutherford's "Defense of Brother Russell," nor do I need one for myself, as I need no further evidence than the STUDIES. But I might be able to use one with advantage with others that are not so convinced.

Thanking you for the interest and sympathy manifested in your letter, and requesting that you will remember me at the Throne of Grace.

I am your brother in the Truth,
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DAILY USE OF VOW A BLESSING

DEARLY BELOVED PASTOR:--

Although my name was entered as taking the Vow seven years ago, I wish to express my appreciation of its being a great safeguard from the powers of darkness in this evil day.

I have been very diligent in repeating it in the morning, and always received a blessing. Recently I was careless for a few days and did not repeat the VOW; as a result I had a very severe trial.

I wish to renew my name and covenant with the Lord, and am sure the result will be a blessing; I know of no other way to correct my carelessness. How graciously we have been provided for, and how much we need to be on the alert to resist the occult powers!

With much Christian Love,
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